Wife of jailed China dissident 'detained'

 Published: 6/20/2011 6:25:05 AM GMT
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BEIJING (AFP) – The wife of prominent jailed Chinese rights activist Hu Jia said Monday in an online post that unidentified people had apprehended her at Beijing's airport, but it was unclear if she was in custody.

Zeng Jinyan boarded a flight from China's southern city of Shenzhen on Sunday, but did not exit from the passenger arrival area after it landed in Beijing, Hong Kong's Oriental Daily had reported earlier.

"She may have been taken away by Chinese authorities," the paper said, quoting unnamed sources.

"Yesterday as I was getting off the plane, eight people came and took me away, they even took my luggage," Zeng said later in a post on Twitter, which is blocked in China but accessible to users via virtual private networks.

"I think this is how life is going to be after (Hu Jia is released)."

It was unclear from the post if police were involved in the incident, or whether she had regained her full freedom.

Hu, 37, became one of China's most high-profile activists through years of campaigning for civil rights, environmental protection and the plight of the country's marginalised AIDS sufferers.

He is expected to be released on Sunday after serving three and a half years for subversion. However, several Chinese government critics have recently been put under house arrest or police surveillance following release from jail.

AFP repeatedly tried to reach Zeng on Monday, but her mobile phone was switched off.

Hong Kong Cable TV reported that Zeng and Hu's mother had visited the jailed activist at a Beijing prison on Monday morning.

Earlier this month, Zeng told AFP she hoped to go to the prison to seek information on the conditions of Hu's release.

She has been active in her husband's rights campaigning and authorities earlier this month ordered her evicted from her rented apartment in Shenzhen.

Zeng had moved to the city from Beijing in April, telling AFP that she had hoped to enjoy a semblance of freedom there with Hu following his planned release.

However, police in Beijing told Zeng that Hu was not likely to enjoy a "normal" life after his release -- remarks she interpreted to mean he was likely to face continued restrictions.

"I don't think anything good will happen (upon his release) -- I can only try my best to avoid arrest or detention," she told AFP on June 9.

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