Chinese government jails another human rights advocate

Amnesty International launched a new website this week called Uncensor, with lots of information on the use of internet censorship to restrict information access and freedom of speech, as well as updates on the continuing failures in the human rights record of the Chinese government. In the spirit of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, the Uncensor site comes complete with its own mascot – Nu Wa.

A recent story detailed on the site is about human rights campaigner Hu Jia. He is a writer, blogger and film-maker. He has just been sentenced to three and a half years jail for “”inciting subversion of state power”. His wife and four month old baby daughter remain under house arrest.

More on Hu Jia and his wife Zeng Jinyan in these stories in The Independent and Radio Free Asia. The story has got very wide coverage, even on sites like AOL Sports. The Wall Street Jounal suggests “if anything, China has cracked down harder on activists in preparation for the Olympic”, quoting an assessment by Reporters Without Borders that “100 journalists, internet users and activists were imprisoned last year alone.”

This link goes to a paper Hu Jia wrote for an internet conference late last year with the European Union Human Rights Council in Brussels.  It deals specifically with links between the human rights situation and the Beijing Olympics.

The paper asserts that

In April, an internal document issued by the Ministry of Public Security stated: political investigations would be secretly stepped up, with 11 categories and 43 types of people prohibited from participating in the Olympics, including political dissidents, human rights defenders, some news organizations, religious groups, and others.

That suggests an interesting interpretation of the Fundamental Principle of Olympism, which includes the following:

• Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

Like & share:


  1. Andrew stop babbling. WE picked up a human rights campaigner, threw him in jail and then deported him.

    This hypocritical whining is starting to become fairly intolerable.

    I know you have a great record on human rights but Australia as a nation has a woeful record that must be borne by us all.

    China locks em’ up, we deport them for no reason. Not much difference is there.

    And we are still occupying two nations where grotesque human rights violations are being carried out by us or ignored by us.

    Until we check our own copy book we have no right nor room to talk about anyone else.

  2. I really don’t understand why you seem to think no Australian has any right to criticise the human right failings of another country or government, just because our own government has its own failings.

    If we followed the logic that “we have no right to talk about anyone else” until our record is perfect, then no one in the world would ever be able to criticise the actions of another country – and those in other countries who are suffering the most serious abuses – particularly those who lived in countries without any freedom of speech – would basically be left with no support and no international pressure.

    To say “there’s not much difference” is just plain silly. If I was in China posting these things opn my website, I would be locked up and quite possibly tortured. If the Australian government reacted to criticism of their actions the way the Chinese government does, I would have been locked up long ago – as would you Marilyn.

    It is simply ridiculous to suggest that Australia’s human rights record in recent times is anywhere near as bad as that of the Chinese government’s, both in scope and scale.

    But even if one was to entertain such a notion, it would only hypocritical if one were to criticse another country whilst never admitting the flaws of one’s own.

  3. It occurs to me Marilyn that you’ll never convince anyone to listen to you if you denigrate them with childish name calling.

    That said, this blog is far more polite than many others I’ve seen on the net, so well done readers. I much prefer people to address arguments rather than the person, which fools no one.

  4. Andrew B: I endorse your cogent response to Marilyn. Local shortcomings aside, we are blessed to live in Australia but in keeping with your argument, I personally accept no responsibility for Australia’s K.Rudd’s actions (“our own government has its own failings”)

    Muzzmonster: I think that Marilyn has done worse name calling on previous occasions and, yes, I’m glad that most of (the guys at least) have refrained from the use of expletives on this site.

    Marilyn: Who is the human rights campaigner that WE picked up? Excuse my ignorance, my best guess based on recent deportees must be wrong (in the context of this post) and I’m adverse to being wrong publicly.

Comments are closed.