Activist's wife and daughter evicted
The wife and three-year-old daughter of the jailed activist Hu Jia, who is scheduled to be released later this month, are facing eviction after their landlady ordered them to move under what appears to be government pressure, Hu's wife said yesterday.
'The landlady can't put up with [government] pressure and wants us out - she seems desperate,' Zeng Jinyan said on Twitter. Zeng has been living in Shenzhen since moving from Beijing in April. Observers say the eviction order appears to be related to Hu's scheduled release on June 26 and fear it is part of the authorities' strategy to harass his family before he is freed.
Zeng, 27, said it was impossible to move immediately as she did not want her daughter to become homeless with her. They are already under constant surveillance.
Hu, 37, was arrested in December 2007 and sentenced to three years and six months in jail on subversion charges four months later. His daughter was just over a month old at the time. Hu, initially an Aids activist, later became a campaigner for other activists in trouble - a cause that eventually landed him in jail. He was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament in 2008.
Rights groups fear Hu and his family will be placed under house arrest after his release, as the families of other prominent government critics have been. .
'It is very worrying that they are already harassing Zeng and her young child - what is going to happen when Hu Jia is released?' said Wang Songlian, a researcher at rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.
Zeng said she is mentally prepared for house arrest but is worried about the effect it will have on their daughter.