High-profile Chinese human rights activist, Hu Jia, has been released from prison. Jia who campaigned for a range of issues including AIDS in rural communities, spent three and a half years in jail for subversion. However, there are fears he will now be under an informal house arrest, like other Chinese dissidents.
Nicholas Bequelin, researcher at Human Rights Watch China explained: “The authorities have already told his wife that he won’t be returned to full freedoms. That leads us to be very concerned about the possibility that he is going to go back to the situartion before he was arrested, which is indefinite house arrest.”
Fellow prominent activist and artist Ai Weiwei was released on bail on Wednesday after spending eighty days behind bars. A critic of the Chinese government, he was charged with tax evasion.
Now out on bail, Weiwei isn’t allowed to leave Beijing. Chinese authorities have been clamping down on dissents, trying to prevent any chance of the type of uprisings seen in the Arab Spring. Both releases have happened whilst Chinese premier Wen Jiabao is visiting Europe with trips to Britain, Germany and Hungary.