( dpa ) - Hans-Gert Pottering, president of the European Parliament, called Tuesday for the immediate release of Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia, saying Beijing needed to demonstrate its commitment to upholding human rights as it prepared to host this summer's Olympic Games. "I very much hope that the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing will be an opportunity for China to demonstrate that a country hosting the world's most important sports event is committed to internationally recognized human rights standards including freedom of expression. The immediate release of Hu Jia would be an important signal in this direction," Pottering said in a statement. Pottering described Hu Jia, who was arrested on December 27 and charged with subversion, as "a representative of the peaceful struggle for freedom of expression in China."
On Monday, dozens of Chinese intellectuals and rights activists appealed for his release. They also called on the government to allow access to Hu by his lawyers and family, an end to the close surveillance and harassment of his wife and other relatives.
Hu, 34, is best known for his advocacy for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS in China, winning several international awards.