¶ By ALEXA OLESEN
¶ Associated Press Writer
¶ 03-17-2006 07:36
¶ BEIJING (AP) _ The U.N. human rights agency has expressed concern to Beijing about a Chinese AIDS activist who disappeared last month after going on a hunger strike to protest violence against dissidents, his wife said Friday.
¶ Zeng Jinyan gave The Associated Press a copy of a document from the U.N. Human Rights Commission saying it expressed concern about her husband, Hu Jia, to the Chinese government on March 10. It did not say whether there had been a response.
¶ Hu, 32, is among hundreds of Chinese activists who have staged brief hunger strikes in support of a protest launched Feb. 6 by Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng.
¶ Zeng said she last saw her husband on Feb. 16 while he was under house arrest. She said several plainclothes police were in the lobby of her building and sitting in nearby cars as she left for work that day.
¶ A fellow Beijing AIDS activist, Wan Yanhai, circulated a petition Friday demanding that authorities investigate Hu’s disappearance.
¶ "We request that the relevant Public Security Bureau departments actively carry out their duties and take measures to locate Hu Jia," reads the petition, signed by more than 100 Chinese individuals and organizations. "If he was indeed detained by the Public Security Bureau, we ask for his immediate release."
¶ The petitioners also say they are concerned about Hu’s health; he suffers from Hepatitis B and requires daily medication.
¶ The Beijing office of a U.N. health agency, UNAIDS, reported Hu’s case to the Health Ministry last month.
¶ Human rights group Amnesty International says that at least 10 hunger strikers have disappeared or been detained after taking part in the protest.
¶ Zeng and Hu’s parents filed a missing person report with police in their neighborhood of Tongzhou in eastern Beijing and visited police several times but have received no official response, Zeng said.
¶ A man who answered the phone at the Tongzhou police station Friday said no such report had been filed. He refused to give his name. Another officer, who would only give his surname Qi, asked a reporter to drop off a written request for information in person.
¶ China’s Ministry the Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.
¶ In 2004, Hu said he was placed under house arrest to prevent him from traveling to a village in the central province of Henan with a high incidence of AIDS while a U.S. Embassy delegation was visiting.
¶ China’s ruling communists brook no opposition to their rule, and those who challenge it can be punished by terms in labor camps or sentenced to a decade or more in prison.
¶ On Friday, a dissident was sentenced to 10 years in prison for posting an essay on the Internet saying people have the right to violently overthrow tyranny, said Human Rights in China, a New York-based group.
¶ Ren Zhiyuan pleaded not guilty to charges of "subversion of state power," a vague term that Communist authorities use when prosecuting activists they say are critical of the government or potentially dangerous.
¶ Ren, a secondary school teacher who was detained May 2005, was tried last September in the eastern province of Shandong. The Jining Municipal Intermediate People’s Court on Friday confirmed the sentence.