China Police Detain Another Activist

September 7, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: September 7, 2006 12:00 am

BEIJING—Chinese police detained prominent AIDS activist Hu Jia on Thursday, his family said, adding to the list of human rights activists held or harassed by a dissent-wary government.

Hu was taken away by plain-clothes police early in the morning, his wife, Zeng Jinyan, told Reuters. “They wanted to enter the home, but I refused to let them in,” she said.

She said police produced no identification or warrant for his detention, and said he was being taken to a local police station.

By mid-afternoon, Zeng said there was no news from Hu and she was unsure how long he might be detained. “We can only wait and see if this will be just an interrogation or something longer,” she said.

Hu, 33, has embraced a number of controversial causes. He first came to prominence over his advocacy for AIDS sufferers in rural China.

A slight, bespectacled Buddhist, Hu has also supported dialogue with exiled Tibetans and most recently protested against the treatment of other rights activists, including Gao Zhisheng, a combative lawyer who was detained in August, and Chen Guangcheng, a blind rural campaigner sentenced to over four years in jail.

Before his detention, Hu told Reuters by phone that dozens of police had gathered below his apartment in far eastern Beijing.

“It looks like they're getting serious about taking me away,” said Hu, who has been under house arrest since July. Earlier this year, Hu was held in secret detention for 41 days.

Other Chinese rights activists have recently been placed under house arrest, moved to distant cities, or have gone into hiding.