The Chinese dissident Hu Jia has won the European Union’s top human rights prize. It is a move certain to annoy Beijing as the 35 year old was jailed by China after testifying to the European Parliament’s Human Rights Sub committee last year.
Parliamentary President Hans-Gert Pottering said: “the Sakharov prize 2008 was awarded in the name of the suppressed voices in China and Tibet.” The award was well received as the jailing of Hu has attracted international condemnation.
A campaigner for civil rights and environmental protection, Hu was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in April. He had already spent many months under house arrest with his wife and child.
Hu began as a campaigner for rural AIDS sufferers but has emerged as one of his country’s most vocal advocates for democratic rights, religious freedom and of self determination for Tibet. China regards him as a convicted criminal