AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
BEIJING: Outspoken government critic Hu Jia has been detained in the latest in a string of moves by Chinese security forces against people linked to activist Chen Guangcheng, reportedly under US “protection”.
Just hours after Hu had told AFP he believed his blind friend Chen was safe in the US embassy in Beijing, his wife said on Twitter last night that her husband had been taken away by the authorities.
Self-taught lawyer Chen fled on April 22 with the help of supporters from under the noses of dozens of guards, and subsequently recorded a video alleging abuses against him and his family.
China Aid, a group run by former Tiananmen Square democracy activist Bob Fu, said yesterday it had learned from a “source close to the Chen Guangcheng situation” that the activist was now “under US protection”.
Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan, tweeted that “people from the police will come to collect anti-viral medicine. His (Hu’s) detention has been extended to 24 hours. I asked where Hu Jia would sleep, they said on a chair.”
It was unclear what the medicines were for.
Later today, Zeng said state security officials had called her again, “demanding to see me today to speak to me.”
Hu Jia, well-known for activism in support of human rights, people living with HIV/AIDS and the environment, was released in June 2011 after more than three months in prison for “attempted subversion of power.”
The detention of Hu, who said he had met Chen since his audacious flight, is the latest action by security authorities following his escape.
Human rights groups previously said Chen’s brother, Chen Guangfu and Chen Guangfu’s son Chen Kegui had been taken into police custody after a violent confrontation on Friday.
He Peirong, one of Chen’s supporters who helped transport him to a safe location, was arrested in Nanjing on Friday, Fu previously said.