Accessibility links

Breaking News

Prominent Chinese Dissident Freed From Jail

Hu Jia in a 2007 photo
One of China's most prominent dissidents, Hu Jia, was reunited with his family early today after serving 3 1/2 years in jail on subversion charges, but he needed rest and was not ready to speak in public, his wife said.

Hu, 37, was convicted in 2008 for "inciting subversion of state power" for criticizing human rights restrictions in China, and was seen by some supporters as a potential recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize before it went to another jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, last year.

"He is back home with his parents and me," his wife, Zeng Jinyan, told Reuters in a brief telephone interview.

"I don't know if he can speak later. At the moment, I want everything to be peaceful. I'm worried that doing interviews at this stage might cause problems. Please understand."

Hu's long-scheduled release followed this week's abrupt freeing from detention of the prominent artist and activist Ai Weiwei, and has come while Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is visiting Europe on trips to Hungary, Britain, and Germany.

Asked how Hu's health was, his mother, Feng Juan, said by telephone: "It's so so. He was in a very good mood. The first thing he did after coming home was to take a bath. Then he had a meal."

China's Communist Party has cracked down on dissent since February, responding to fears that uprisings across the Arab world could also inspire challenges to its one-party rule, especially ahead of a leadership succession late in 2012.