The acts of silencing dissents intensify as the clock ticks closer to the Beijing Olympics in August. The first big news of 2008 was the arrest of Hu Jia. The latest update is that his case has been passed onto prosecutors and his wife Zeng Jinyan was informed by police he might get sentenced to five years in prison. The police further explained his “crimes” were committed in two ways: he attacked the Chinese government through the articles Hu Qianci - Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan's daughter, source: RConversationhe wrote and the interviews he gave to reporters. Zeng is very concerned about her husband’s heath. She worries his Hepatitis B infection would deteriorate if Hu is not given the proper medicine while in detention. Meanwhile, Zeng and the couple’s three-month old baby girl, Hu Qianci remain in house arrest. Zeng’s blog was updated recently including a lively picture of baby Qianci.

Police activities were not limited to Hu Jia and his family. His friend and lawyer Teng Biao was abducted by police outside his home on March 6th. The police took him to an unknown location, questioned him and released him two days later. He was warned about the writings he posted on the internet and he was told not to speak out. The day after Teng disappeared, in an unrelated incident, human rights lawyer Li Heping was rear-ended by a police car when he was driving his son to school. Li and his son were not hurt seriously. The traffic police refused to help when Li attempted to report the case.

While real people are experiencing harsh treatment from the police, the internet is also going downhill. Two AIDS news sites were closed by the authorities last week. A few days ago, the Beijing Aizhixing Institute of Health Education, co-founded by Hu Jia for HIV/AIDS advocacy, received an order to remove unspecified “illegal information” from its website and the site was shut down temporarily. The information in question may be about Hu Jia. Back on the ground, about a thousand petitioners were detained by police in Beijing right before the National People’s Congress began its annual meeting on March 5th.

Less than five months left until the Beijing Olympics. Can the suppression of dissent get any worse?

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Update (3-16-2008): Zeng Jinyan posted another picture of Qianci and an audio file (read English translation here) on her blog. Meanwhile, there was a successful attempt of delivering baby formula to Zeng earlier this month after numerous failed attempts. The mission was documented by the “delivery man” online. The detailed description of BOBO Freedom City housing complex where Zeng lives and how this person navigated through fences, the residents and the police reads like couple of scenes in an action movie minus the super high tech gadgets.

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