True, Hu Jia does not have the power of a state or a political party behind him. He walked anonymously around the streets of Beijing, without crowds following him, except a group of plain clothes police. He does not even enjoy good health, and now can only walk in his prison cell. But Hu Jia has lived a life of purity and dignity. And the measure of the moral power of such a life is best seen in contrast to the gargantuan state that imprisoned him.
This kind of dignity is not evident in the spectacular Olympics opening ceremony, nor in the Chinese astronauts who recently completed a space walk. In those productions, we see only the power and glory of the state. Most recently and tragically, we have seen thousands of Chinese babies hospitalised for drinking tainted milk powder following a state media cover-up of the contamination in the run-up to the Olympics – one example of many illustrating the human price Chinese people have paid for the powerful and glorious image of the state.
Hu Jia has chosen to stand with those who suffer, and to lend his voice to those who are voiceless in Chinese society.