The wives of two prominent Chinese dissidents have issued appeals on behalf of their ill or missing husbands.
Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), who is married to cyber-dissident Hu Jia (胡佳), detained since December 2007 and suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, has appealed for his release on medical grounds. It is the seventh time she has asked for him to be freed.
Geng He, the wife of netizen and lawyer Gao Zhisheng, yesterday turned to the United States as President Hu Jiantao begins a visit there asking for light to be shed on the disappearance of her husband in April 2010 (read the article).
Reporters Without Borders repeats its call for an explanation of the disappearance of Gao Zhisheng and urges the Chinese authorities to free Hu Jia, if they do not want to held responsible for dramatic events similar to those surrounding the netizen Zhang Jianhong.
Shortly after being freed on medical grounds, as he had requested on several occasions, Zhang Jianhong, better known under the name Li Hong, died on 31 December last year in hospital from the effects of an illness that was never treated during his three years in prison (read the article).
A senior US official said President Barack Obama had raised in a private meeting the case of Liu Xiaobo, his successor as Nobel peace prize winner, who is in jail in China.
President Obama is said to have called for him to be released. He also reminded his Chinese counterpart that certain values such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly were universal and transcend cultures.
In a break with his usual habit Hu Jintao agreed during the visit to answer questions at a news conference. He initially deliberately dodged a question on human rights before answering, in reply to a second question, that China was always committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and that the country has "made enormous progress", even if a lot still needed to be done.
Reporters Without Borders calls on the Chinese leader to take steps to improve the human rights situation, by starting with the release of the 107 journalists and bloggers currently behind bars.