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Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 13:44 UK

China urged to free 'seriously ill' activist Hu Jia

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Zeng Jinyan and Hu Jia at their home in Beijing (January 2007)
Mrs Zeng says she has not had the results of her husband's health tests

Jailed Chinese activist Hu Jia is extremely ill and could be suffering from liver cancer, his wife has said.

Zeng Jinyan has applied for permission for her husband to be released from prison early so he can return home for treatment.

Mr Hu was sent to jail for three-and-a-half years in 2008 for inciting subversion.

His wife believes that under Chinese law he could be allowed home because he has already served more than two years.

"My appeal asks the authorities to release Hu Jia on medical parole to allow him to come home so that I can look after him," she said.

Ms Zeng, who is also an activist, said her husband was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2006, but his health has now deteriorated.

In an interview with the BBC, she said doctors discovered a growth on his liver in March this year.

They carried out tests for liver cancer, although they have not yet provided Ms Zeng with the results

"It doesn't matter what the tests say, Hu Jia's medical condition continues to get worse - that's a fact," said Ms Zeng.

Surveillance

Mr Hu gained an international reputation, and a number of prizes, for passing on information about human rights cases in China.

The 36-year-old, now in a prison hospital, was in constant contact with journalists, foreign embassy staff and other Chinese activists.

He was arrested in December 2007 in the run up to the Beijing Olympic Games.

A few months later he was sentenced at a trial in Beijing, accused of spreading malicious rumours in an attempt to subvert the state.

Since then, his wife and daughter - now two - have been subjected to surveillance by the authorities, even though neither has been charged with a crime.

This surveillance has been relaxed recently, but at times it still means Ms Zeng is a prisoner in her own home.

"During big events like the US president's visit to China, I was not allowed to go out. I was under house arrest," she said.



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