Su Yitong and Pan Jiaqing | Radio Free Asia
Several Chinese dissidents were invited to Germany’s Embassy in Beijing on Friday for festivities marking the Oct. 3 Day of German Unity, a move one poet praised as a rare show of support amid an intensifying crackdown on lawyers, activists and bloggers.
Among the guests were activist Hu Jia, the wife of one of the lawyers who disappeared in the July 2015 round-up of hundreds of rights defenders, and journalist Gao Yu, who is on medical parole from a five-year jail term. Gao, 71 or 72, was sentenced to a seven-year jail term in 2015 for “leaking state secrets overseas,”but the sentence was cut on appeal to five years by the Beijing High People’s Court last November.
Beijing human rights activist Hu Jia told RFA’s Cantonese Service he had talked to European diplomats at the party about the situation of jailed Uyghur scholar IIham Tohti as well as the fate of Xia Lin and other lawyers caught in the crackdown.
Tohti, named last week as a finalist for the European Parliament’s 2016 Sakharov Prize, was sentenced to life in prison following his conviction for “separatism” on Sept. 23, 2014.
Xia Lin, a lawyer whose clients have included dissident artist Ai Weiwei, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for “fraud” by a Beijing court on Thursday, in a decision rights groups said was political persecution for handling sensitive cases.
“The diplomats are very concerned about the situation of Tohti in prison and also his family as well. They are mainly concerned about his wife and two young children in Beijing,” Hu told RFA.
“I could only say that his health was still good, that he had recovered after his trial. He might have intentionally shown that he was well, so the family would not be worrie…nobody knows,” Hu added.
Hu said his ability to update the diplomats on Tohti was limited “because there are strict visitation restrictions imposed.”
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