Democracy Advocate’s Whereabouts in China Still Unknown

November 2, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Jia Kuo outside parliament in Wellington. (Alexander Neilsen/NTDTV)
Jia Kuo outside parliament in Wellington. (Alexander Neilsen/NTDTV)
NEW ZEALAND—Nine days ago Chinese democracy advocate Mr Jia Jia left New Zealand and returned to China. His son, Mr Jia Kuo has not heard from him since and is fearful for his father's wellbeing.

Jia Jia, former head of a Science and Technology Group and an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party, arrived in New Zealand in 2008 as a refugee and is a New Zealand permanent resident.

Son, Jia Kuo, says his father was worried about the lack of progress toward democracy in China and decided he had to return to help the Chinese people. Upon landing in Beijing on October 22, Jia Jia was arrested by the Chinese authorities and his family have no news of his whereabouts.

Jia Kuo believes that his father's life is in danger.

Speaking outside parliament in Wellington yesterday, Jia Kuo said he was seeking help from Prime Minister John Key to find his father.

Jia Kuo was one of the many placard holders outside the Beehive who were taking advantage of the media attention during the visit to New Zealand of a Chinese delegation led by Chinese First Vice Premier, Li Keqiang.

Because the Chinese Government is a dictatorship, it was difficult for his father to promote democracy, said Mr Jia. After Jia Jia left China he continued to work hard, encouraging people to quit the Chinese Communist Party and promoting an understanding of the benefits of democracy in China.

Jia Jia sought refuge in Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia after leaving China in 2005.

“The Chinese Government put a lot of pressure on the countries that my father lived in so it was very hard for him to stay … he had to move from one country to another,” said Jia Kuo.

Human rights lawyer, Kerry Gore told NTDTV that under the Chinese Criminal Procedure Provisions, Jia Jia's family should have been given information about his whereabouts and the reason for his arrest.

The fact that the Chinese authorities are not obeying their own criminal law and refuse to divulge information regarding Jia Jia shows that they have something to hide, said Mr Gore.

He said that Jia Jia passionately encouraged Chinese people to quit the Communist Party and encouraged them to consider the benefits of democracy and democratic institutions for China.

“The Chinese Communist Party says that it has a constitution and that constitution enables Chinese people to exercise rights, like right to freedom of speech.”

“Now that actually is all he is calling for …”

Where else in the world would one be criminalised for asking people to consider the benefits of democracy and democratic reform, asked Mr Gore.

Mr Gore believes that it was likely that Jia Jia was arrested for encouraging people to quit the Chinese Communist Party.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that they had not received any definite information from China about Mr Jia Jia, but would continue to inquire about the circumstances that had led to his arrest.

The fact that Mr Jia Jia had travelled on a Chinese passport constrained the Government's ability to get access to him.

“If he was a New Zealand citizen, we would be able to request a visit,” said the spokesperson.