Medical parole rejected for jailed China dissident

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities have rejected a request for medical parole for a dissident who has championed AIDS victims and was imprisoned for sedition after being accused of plotting to disturb the Olympic Games, his wife said Monday.

Zeng Jinyan appealed last week to Beijing prison authorities, saying a medical consent form for her husband Hu Jia when he entered a prison hospital last month showed a possible diagnosis of liver cancer. The appeal brought immediate support from some human rights groups, and a petition in Chinese backing the medical parole has been circulating online.

But a prison hospital director called Hu's mother Monday morning and said the request for parole had been rejected, and that Hu has been moved from the hospital back to prison, Zeng said.

The prison director told Hu's mother that Hu had a "blood tumor" on his liver and his health didn't meet the conditions of medical parole.

Zeng said she wants a written response and is still asking for medical parole.

Hu is serving a 3 1/2-year jail term for sedition that is set to end in June 2011. The charge stems from police accusations that he had planned to work with foreigners to disturb the Olympic Games.

The 36-year-old Hu has had liver problems in the past, including cirrhosis. Zeng's letter to Beijing prison authorities said Hu's mother saw a possible diagnosis of liver cancer — the words "liver cancer" with a question mark next to them — on a consent form for medical tests on Hu late last month.

"Tests showed an unidentified object about three centimeters long on Hu Jia's liver," the letter said. The letter dated Wednesday asked that Hu be sent home for better care.

There was no immediate comment Monday afternoon from the Beijing Prison Administration.

A request for Hu's medical parole last year was rejected as well.

Initially an advocate for the rights of HIV/AIDS patients, Hu expanded his efforts. From his apartment where he was often under house arrest, Hu used the Internet and telephone to chronicle the harassment and arrests of other dissidents.

"I have cirrhosis because I've been fighting against police in the past five years," Hu said in an interview in early 2008. "The Chinese believe anger harms your liver. There have been too many fights, too much bleeding."

In late 2008, Hu won the European Parliament's top human rights prize.