Hu Jia can not come to accept the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought this Wednesday because he is in prison.
It is not certain whether the Chinese authorities will let his wife come to Strasbourg to collect on Hu’s behalf.
She is under house arrest with the couple’s infant daughter, in Beijing.
Hu has embraced a wide range of causes, including environmental issues and HIV
The EU’s top human rights prize marks its 20th anniversary this year.
The Sakharov award to to 35-year-old Hu flies in the face of intense lobbying by China.
The Communist regime warned that relations with Europe would suffer if parliament went through with its decision.