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    Chinese Rights Advocate Hu Jia Released from Jail


    by NTDTelevision

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    After almost four years behind bars, Chinese rights activist Hu Jia has been released from prison. But his family's joy at his release is tinged with the fear that his health may have deteriorated while in detention. Here's that story.

    Chinese Rights Advocate Hu Jia was released from prison on Sunday, after a three-and-a-half year sentence. His wife is concerned that a potentially life-threatening illness may have gotten worse during his time in jail.

    Hu Jia became a well-known rights activist for defending AIDS patients and orphans. He later called for greater acknowledgement of human rights in China. For his work the European Parliament awarded him their top human rights award, the Sakharov Prize. But by then, Hu was already in prison, jailed for what Chinese authorities said was subversion of state and working with foreigners to disrupt the 2008 Olympics.

    Although he has been released from prison, Hu Jia may not be out of danger.

    [Zeng Jinyan, Hu Jia's Wife]:
    "Before he went into prison, he had early stage cirrhosis of the liver. At the moment, we really don't know how serious the cirrhosis has become because we don't have a written report. He has been to the hospital for a check up, and he is already taking anti-viral medication."

    Cirrhosis is caused by irreversible scaring of liver tissue. Left untreated, it could lead to kidney failure or liver cancer.

    But cirrhosis isn't the only danger Hu is facing. Some fear that while he may be at home, he's not out of prison yet.

    [Nicholas Bequelin, Researcher for Human Rights Watch China]:
    "The authorities have already told his wife that he won't be returned to full freedom. That leads us to be very concerned about the possibility that he is going to go back to the situation before he was arrested, which is indefinite house arrest."