Dissident Hu Jia goes from jail to hope

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 July, 2011, 12:00am


You wouldn't expect someone who has just been released from jail, put under house arrest and tailed by security men to be full of optimism.

Yet Hu Jia, one of the mainland's most high-profile dissidents, said he was heartened by a rise in awareness of rights and freedom among ordinary people and wanted to help push his nation towards democracy. 'When my child was born I felt that, for her sake, I had to create room for freedom, democracy and rule of law [in our country]. I can't let children of her generation suffer like us.'

Hu was arrested in December 2007, when his daughter was just one month old, on subversion charges for his articles critical of the government. He was jailed four months later.

But Hu, 37, said he had abandoned his confrontational attitude and wanted to fight for his cause with rationality and the rule of law.

'The officials are already very afraid - the more you provoke them the crueller they are,' he said. 'That kind of fear would bring brutal retaliation ... so we have to push for reform step by step.' He said he no longer wished to bring pain to his family or jeopardise his health, and wanted to pursue 'sustainable development'.

'[It's because] I want to see the historical moment of the democratisation of China,' said Hu, who suffers from hepatitis B and cirrhosis.