Andrew Sullivan on AIDS activist Hu Jia

Sully almost never comments on China, so it was good to see him speak out against the Chinese government for its forcible “psychiatric tratment” of AIDS campaigner Hu Jia (scroll down to find the entry).

Sullivan cites a story from Human Rights Watch that correctly refers to this treatment as a form of torture.

Yes, a form of torture. But how can the U.S. now take a stand against this, when the president has memos drawn up explaining why torture is sometimes okay?

Did we ever think we’d see the day Sullivan would condemn Bush like this? Amazing.

Here’s what Human Rights Watch had to say about the treatment of Hu Jia.

When a fellow activist attempted to deliver some AIDS materials to Hu Jia on the evening of June 1, police refused to allow them to meet, and gave Hu Jia a brutal thrashing that resulted in injuries to his head and left arm. On June 3, four police officers forced their way into Hu Jia’s home and said they would be staying there to monitor his activities. When Hu Jia objected, they struck him in the presence of his father and mother, then took him away and detained him in a cold, damp basement for three days and three nights. Since releasing Hu Jia on June 6, police have continued their surveillance on his home, cutting off all of the family’s telephone access and refusing to allow Hu Jia to leave the house.

The more recent order for psychiatric evaluation is causing considerable distress to Hu Jia and his parents. Hu Jia’s parents see absolutely no sign of mental abnormality in Hu Jia, and are well aware that “psychiatric treatment” has been forced upon a number of dissidents and religious practitioners, sometimes resulting in them actually becoming mentally unstable. A source passed HRIC a message from Hu Jia’s family and friends calling on the international community to take note of Hu Jia’s desperate situation. The message states, “If the police forcibly commit Hu Jia to a mental hospital against the wishes of himself and his family, this constitutes using psychiatric treatment as a form of torture and political persecution.”

Anyone care to defend the government’s actions? Anyone care to tell Hu Jia to relax, because things are getting better, and reform is in the air?

Related post: The Indescribable Tragedy of AIDS in China

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