Today is Hu Jia’s 36th birthday. He is spending it in his cell in the Beijing municipal prison. His wife Zeng Jinyan and their daughter were granted a visit on 21 July 2009. Ms Zeng posted this poem on her blog afterwards:
Each day I save up a minute, so that each month we can meet for 30 minutes.
A glass panel several centimetres in thickness separates us: I am on this side. He is on the other side.
I stretch my hands as close to the glass as I can, and yet I cannot feel the warmth on his slender face.
He is calm, and occasionally smiles.
I give him a birthday wish ahead of time.
He reminds me that he has to spend another birthday in jail.
When we depart, he turns around and says, “I love you.”
That invites a chuckle from the prison guard.
On the way home, I find Beijing under a shroud of fog. Overcome by a lingering sense of melancholy,
I start to wonder if what happens this Tuesday afternoon is, after all, just another dream.
Hu was arrested on 27 December 2007 on a charge of "inciting subversion of state authority”. He was tried and found guilty on 18 March 2008 for posting information about matters of state on websites based abroad. The court sentenced him on 3 April 2008 to three and a half years in prison.
Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for Hu Jia’s release: Hu has already spent 20 months in prison in very trying conditions. It is shocking to see how a man whose only crime was to write articles and give interviews is being kept in prison by certain stubborn officials. The government should demonstrate a desire to improve respect for free expression by freeing Hu and his colleagues, Liu Xiaobo and Huang Qi.
You can sign a petition for Hu’s release HERE.