European Parliament Member Prevented From Visiting Activist in Beijing

November 26, 2008 Updated: October 1, 2015

Chinese dissident Zeng Jinyan stands behind a gated compound at Bobo Freedom Village where she lives under unofficial house arrest   (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese dissident Zeng Jinyan stands behind a gated compound at Bobo Freedom Village where she lives under unofficial house arrest (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese officials blocked European Parliament member, Green MEP Helga Trüpel, from meeting with Zeng Jinyan on November 25. Zeng is wife of Chinese dissident and this year’s Sakharov-prize winner, Hu Jia. Zeng Jinyan is under house arrest, along with her one-year-old daughter. Civil police denied the MEP entry in a rude manner, according to a press release from Mrs. Trüpel.

Trüpel, a member of the China delegation of the European Parliament, is quoted: “The human rights situation in China has not improved despite big promises ahead of the Olympic Games.” She had approached Zeng Jinyan’s home to talk to her and leave a present for her child.

Trüpel told Reporters Without Borders (RSF) that “It was a very unfriendly situation. Firstly, the secret services followed us by car and were clearly waiting for us outside the apartment building. I wanted to see Zeng Jinyan, whom I already met two years ago. She confirmed to us by phone that she was not allowed to come and see us.”

According to Trüpel, these events “show the disrespect for fundamental basic rights in China,” proving how right the European Parliament was to award Hu Jia with this year´s Sakharov-prize.

 “How can the Chinese police show so much contempt to a member of the European parliament and to foreign journalists, refusing to let them see a Chinese citizen who wanted to meet them?” said RSF in a statement.

Hu, a Buddhist and civil rights defender, has been lobbying for HIV-positive people in China, as well as working on environmental and human rights issues. The European Parliament awarded him this year with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. He was sentenced to three and a half years of prison ahead of the Olympic Games in April for speaking with foreign journalists.