Hu Jia Wins EU Human Rights Prize
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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 23, 2008
Filed at 7:35 a.m. ET
STRASBOURG, France (AP) — The European Union honored jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia with its top human rights prize on Thursday in defiance of Beijing’s warning that selecting him would seriously harm its relations with the 27-nation bloc.
“Hu Jia is one of the real defenders of human rights in the People’s Republic of China," said European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering. “The European Parliament is sending out a signal of clear support to all those who support human rights in China."
Members of the European Parliament selected Hu for the Sakharov Prize from a shortlist of three that also included candidates from Belarus and Congo. Lawmakers said Chinese pressure had been counterproductive.
Before the announcement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said awarding Hu the prize would constitute interference in China’s internal affairs.
“We all know what kind of person Hu Jia is. He is a criminal, convicted on the charge of inciting subversion of government," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a news briefing in Beijing
“To issue an award to such a criminal is interference in China’s judicial sovereignty and totally against the initial purpose of this prize," Qin said.
China’s ambassador to the EU wrote to Poettering last week to warn that picking Hu would seriously damage China’s relations with the EU.
The prize, named in honor of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was announced as EU leaders gathered in Beijing for a summit with Asian counterparts Friday and Saturday seeking to build a global response to the financial crisis.
Hu is a brash dissident who chronicled the arrests and harassment of other activists before he was sentenced in April to 3 1/2 years in jail in China. The authorities in Beijing say he planned to work with foreigners to disturb the Beijing Olympics. Just before Hu’s arrest he had spoken to a committee of EU lawmakers by phone to discuss human rights before the games.
He started out fighting for the rights of HIV/AIDS patients, but his scope expanded after the government gave little ground and he began to see China’s problems as rooted in authorities’ lack of respect for human rights.
Hu’s lawyer said he was pleased by the award, but doubted it would lead to his client’s early release from jail.
“If they release him right now, people will say the government succumbed to pressure by the international society," Li Jingsong said.
As the parliamentarians went into their meeting to choose a winner, Hu had the backing of the conservative European People’s Party, the largest faction in the 785-seat European Parliament, along with the Liberals and Greens.
“Awarding the Sakharov Prize to Hu Jia puts human rights back at the heart of EU-China relations following China’s failure to keep its pre-Olympic promises on raising human rights standards," said a statement from Green faction leaders Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Monica Frassoni.
The Socialists, who make up the second-largest group had backed Abbe Apollinaire Malu-Malu, who guided Congo through its first elections in 50 years in 2006. The other candidate was Belarus opposition leader Alexander Kozulin.
Hu had also been suggested for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, which drew Chinese criticism, too. That prize went to former Finland President Martti Ahtisaari.
In his Oct. 16 letter to Poettering, Song said EU-China relations are just recovering from the angry backlash in China triggered by European human rights protests before this year’s Beijing Olympics.
“Not recognizing China’s progress in human rights and insisting on confrontation will only deepen the misunderstanding between the two sides," Song cautioned.
The $64,000 prize was begun in 1988 in honor of Sakharov, who died the following year. Previous winners include former South African President Nelson Mandela, East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao and Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya.
To mark the 20th aniversary of the prize, the EU plans two days of special events culminating in the award to Hu on Dec. 17 in Strasbourg, France.
Associated Press writer Anita Chang in Beijing contributed to this report
By: BigStorm_to_China on 十月 23, 2008 at 8:45 上午
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By: 一教師 on 十月 23, 2008 at 8:47 上午
By: 香港人 on 十月 23, 2008 at 10:19 上午
repeat & repeat
By: 極偉大邊緣回望時優劣立判國際澳港台中極標準權威評論*2008 2009 2010 2011祝福你祈求禍劫遠離 on 十月 23, 2008 at 11:59 上午
By: 極偉大邊緣回望時優劣立判國際澳港台中極標準權威評論*2008 2009 2010 2011祝福你祈求禍劫遠離 on 十月 23, 2008 at 12:00 下午
By: 極偉大邊緣回望時優劣立判國際澳港台中極標準權威評論*2008 2009 2010 2011祝福你祈求禍劫遠離 on 十月 23, 2008 at 12:35 下午