by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 12, 2012
One of China's most prominent dissidents said Thursday police interrogated him for eight hours and raided his flat while his four-year-old daughter was present, warning him not to write comments online.
Police swooped on Hu Jia, 38, because of his recent remarks concerning the fate of other dissidents including jailed 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, he told AFP.
Hu was released from prison in June after completing a more than three-year sentence for subversion, but has vowed to continue his rights activism despite official efforts to muzzle him.
The Wednesday night raid came at the start of what is expected to be a year of heightened tension as China gears up for a 10-yearly leadership transition in the autumn.
Hu -- a keen user of Twitter who has been deprived of his political rights for one year -- told AFP police accused him of violating two laws by publishing comments online and took away his and his wife's computers.
On Thursday morning, he was called into a police station in Tongzhou -- the Beijing district where he lives -- for questioning. Tongzhou police refused to comment on the case when contacted by AFP.
While trying not to attract too much attention, Hu has still been outspoken on the Internet in his support for other dissidents such as blind activist Chen Guangcheng and lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who is being held in a remote prison.
Hu said his wife was away and he was home alone with his daughter when eight police officers descended on his flat.
"When I was detained last time (in 2007), a bunch of people entered my house like last night and raided and searched the place, but my daughter was only 45 days old then and probably does not remember," he said.
"But now she's four, she understands a little more and I'm worried adult squabbles can affect an innocent child so I made my daughter go to her room to read books and play with her Barbie dolls."
Hu said he had decided to pack a bag full of clothes so that friends could come and pick his daughter up if he were taken away by police.
Phelim Kine, senior Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said 2012 was expected to be "a fraught year of heightened police surveillance, harassment and detention of high-profile human rights activists and civil society activists" in China.
Hu acknowledged the sensitivity of 2012 but said he was not scared.
"Authorities have directed all sorts of threats and violent tricks at me, but I have never looked back, I have never surrendered and never been scared," he said.
China News from SinoDaily.com
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China warns US not to interfere after self-immolations
Beijing (AFP) Jan 11, 2012
China on Wednesday warned the United States against interfering in its domestic affairs after Washington expressed "serious concern" over a spate of self-immolations by Tibetan monks. "The Chinese government attaches great importance to and safeguards the various basic rights of ethnic groups, including their freedom of religious belief," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters. ... read more
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