Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Almost Free but Homeless

Aids and human rights activist Hu Jia will be released from prison on June 26 after spending three years and six months in jail for subversion.

However when he comes out, he won't have a place to live.

His wife and three-year-old daughter are being evicted from their apartment after their landlady was pressured by the authorities.

"The landlady can't put up with the [government] pressure and wants us out -- she seems desperate," Zeng Jinyan, Hu's wife said on Twitter.

Zeng, 27, moved from Beijing to Shenzhen in April. Observers say the eviction may be part of the authorities' strategy to harass his family before Hu is freed.

Although they are already under constant surveillance, Zeng doesn't want to move yet otherwise she and her daughter will have no place to live.

There is also the strong possibility after Hu is freed that the family will be under virtual house arrest like many others before him.

"It is very worrying that they are already harassing Zeng and her young child -- what is going to happen when Hu is released?" said Wang Songlian, a researcher at rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Their daughter was only a month old when Hu was sent to prison. One wonders what their reunion will be like and how their lives will change when he returns home.

Zeng is said to be mentally prepared for house arrest, but is worried what the effect will have on their daughter.

It's a terrible burden for children of government critics to bear. Many of them are ostracized at school and later on their chances of finding jobs and establishing their own lives is very difficult because of their parents' activities. It practically takes superhuman strength to go through what they do on a daily basis as the Chinese authorities seem intent on destroying them mentally and psychologically, one by one.

Hopefully Hu and his cohorts who are fighting for a better China will eventually prevail. May their efforts not be in vain.

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