Olympics only months away, Hu Jia, an HIV-rights activist, has been
arrested by the Chinese authorities for subversion. According
to those involved in the case, on December 27 2007, about 20
police officers served Hu with a warrant at his home in Qufu,
Shandong Province, then arrested him. For 30 days after his
arrest, his mobile phone was not working.
worked closely with democracy activists and human-rights
lawyers from all over the country, as well as western diplomatic
officials. This, as well as his open e-mail in which he wrote
about crackdowns by the authorities, appears to have struck a
nerve: Hu was imprisoned from July 2006 to February 2007.
against those seen as anti-government are intensifying.
Chen Guangcheng, a blind activist who was nominated for the Magsaysay
Prize for his work helping victims of forced abortions, was arrested.
Well-known human-rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was given a suspended
sentence for subversive activities. Guo Hyuma, a human-rights
activist, was given a five-year sentence in November for illegal
business activities. Li Heping, a lawyer known for his work related
to forced abortions, was abducted and beaten by an unknown group.
rights and democracy rights activists are being arrested on a regular
basis in China in the run-up to the Olympics; China,
perhaps fearing the effect the dissidents’ actions might
have, is stepping up its efforts to whittle away their power.
crackdown by Chinese authorities is not only targeting democracy
and human rights activists. Efforts to flush out of hiding North
Koreans who enter China seeking freedom are also on the rise.
On December 12, in the Quinhuangdao area of Beidaihe (in Hebei,
which is famous as a Communist Party summer resort), a concerted
operation to hunt down North Korean defectors took place. Forty
defectors were arrested in the area; one of those arrested and
taken to Quin Long Prison later broke a window and committed
suicide using the broken shards of glass to slit her wrists.
Kim Yong Ja, a 46-year-old woman (born May 7, 1957), had been
an ordinary housewife from Kuwol dong, Pyongsong city in Pyongan
Province, North Korea. It is thought that Kim Yong Ja killed
herself out of fear of being forcibly repatriated and the harsh
interrogation and punishment she would face in North Korea. According
to a reliable source in contact with this organization, her suicide
was a protest against her brutal treatment at the hands of the
December 15, 2007, at the international conference held during
North Korean Human Rights Week, we expressed our deepest condolences
to her family. In addition, we sent a letter to the Chinese embassy
in Japan protesting, in the strongest language possible, the
barbaric hunting down of North Korean refugees, as well as the
imprisonment, torture, and execution they face when they are
forcibly repatriated. We sent an information package to the media