Washington: A leading rights watchdog has demanded that the Chinese government immediately release imprisoned human rights advocate Hu Jia, who suffers from serious and chronic illnesses on medical parole.
Hu Jia, who is serving a three-and-a-half-year prison term for "inciting subversion against the state”, is reportedly suffering from complications of liver cirrhosis linked to chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
"The Chinese government should never have sent Hu Jia to prison in the first place," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
"Now it is cruelly punishing him by denying medical parole," Richardson said.
Prison authorities have over the past two years repeatedly denied applications by Hu Jia`s wife and fellow activist, Zeng Jinyan, for Hu Jia`s medical parole, the rights body said.
Hu Jia was formally arrested in Beijing on January 30, 2008.
His arrest was part of a wider crackdown on Chinese citizens critical of human rights abuses linked to the preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Human Rights Watch said.