Let me get this straight. A man dedicates his time, money and energy working to help the poor, the sick, the dying, the forgotten and the endangered. And rather than the acclaim and accolade he deserves, he is kidnapped, put under house arrest and now sentenced to 3 1/2 years of hard time in prison for subversion.
I think I need to check my dictionary.
Subversion (sub·ver·sion | \səb-ˈvər-zhən, -shən\): A systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within
Something’s not right. Helping raise AIDS awareness, assuring poor people aren’t taken advantage of by unethical land developers, and assisting in protecting China’s environment and endangered animals don’t seem at all to be part of that definition.
So, the question remains – why is Hu Jia in jail?
Ah! While under house arrest and being persecuted by the powers that be, Hu became further disillusioned with his government. Fair enough, as it was branches of his government that kidnapped him and caused him to disappear for a month, leaving his family to wonder what happened to him. It was his government that locked him in his apartment for 200 days. And, retrospectively, it was branches of his government (whether through direct action, or completely lack of action) that brought on much of the suffering he advocated so passionately for.
The question, I guess then, isn’t why is Hu Jia in jail. I think we pretty much all assumed that’s exactly where he’d be put. Indeed, isn’t that where all folks with a voice go in this country? The better question then is: when are the higher ups going to recognize that the easiest way to stop dissension and subversion is by allowing greater freedoms – and in this case, that was simply the freedom to help people.
In much the same way creating a “war on terror” simply creates more terrorists, a “war on dissidents” simply creates more dissidents. For a bunch of trained engineers to ignore such basic math as greater freedoms = less dissension, and to not recognize that the freest nations of the world are also the most stable, causes me to find a whole new word in the dictionary.