AIDS Activist's Wife Held

The wife of prominent jailed Chinese rights activist Hu Jia said Monday in an online post that she had arrived home after being detained at a Beijing airport.

Zeng Jinyan, herself an award-winning AIDS activist, said via the microblogging service Twitter that she was detained by eight people after landing in Beijing ahead of Hu's release, scheduled for Sunday.

Later, she posted on Twitter, which is blocked in China but accessible to those using virtual private networks, that she had arrived home after visiting Hu.

"Today I saw Hu Jia," Zeng wrote. "I told him to take care of himself and that we'd take things one step at a time."

"Everyone was worried about me ... Thank you."

"I got home a short while ago ... Sorry to my friends in the media and thanks for your concern," she wrote.

However, a friend who spoke with her on the phone on Monday said she had been released. "In the afternoon, she was at her mother's house,"
the friend said.

It was unclear whether there was a police presence in her Beijing home at the time.

Threat of house arrest

Zeng has expressed concern that she, Hu, and the couple's young daughter will be held under house arrest on her husband's release, similar to the treatment handed out to blind Shandong activist Chen Guangcheng and his family.

Her friend said that looked like a possibility. "All in all, it looks like the authorities are taking his release very seriously," the friend said.

"Overall, Zeng Jinyan seemed to be a bit more pessimistic than she was before."

In an earlier Twitter update on her detention, she wrote: "I think this is how life is going to be after [Hu Jia is freed]."

In a later tweet, she said she had been busy ahead of Hu's release.

"For the past few days I have been washing clothes, making food, buying medicines, finding a doctor and keeping my parents-in-law company," Zeng wrote, who recently wrote online about a campaign for independent citizens to stand as candidates in forthcoming township-level elections to local parliaments.

"I haven't made any special arrangements," she wrote.

Temporary disappearance

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, media reports said at the time.

Her temporary disappearance sparked a statement from AIDS activists concerned about her welfare.

Last week, Zeng said the authorities began harassing her family, who moved to the southern city of Shenzhen, attempting to force them out of their apartment, before releasing Hu.

Zeng made the move to Shenzhen amid fears that the entire family would be held under house arrest in their former Beijing home on his release, and said her life became easier for a while.

Hu suffers from hepatitis and cholelithiasis (gallstones in the gallbladder or bile ducts) but authorities have denied him medical parole five times in the past without explanation, according to Zeng.

Hu was handed a three-and-a-half year jail term in 2008 for “incitement to subversion” after he wrote online articles critical of China’s hosting of the Olympics.

A campaigner for human rights and AIDS victims in China, Hu was awarded the Sakharov Prize, a major human rights award, by the European Union in 2008.

He had acted as a key source of information for foreign media on human rights and environmental violations, government abuses, judicial injustices, and the mistreatment of dissidents.

Reported by Ding Xiao for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.