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Cablegate: 2009 International Women of Courage Nomination: Zeng Jinyan

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TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV KWMN KPAO CH

SUBJECT: 2009 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE NOMINATION: ZENG JINYAN

1. Embassy Beijing is pleased to nominate rights activist Zeng
Jinyan for the 2009 Secretary's Award for International Women of
Courage. An inspiration to many within her own country and
throughout the world, Zeng represents not just courageous women
activists, but all those who strive for justice, human rights and
human dignity. Zeng first earned fame for "blogging truth to power"
during a six-week period in early 2006, when Chinese authorities
detained her husband Hu Jia, a well-known activist on issues such as
HIV/AIDS and the environment. Since then, Zeng has steadfastly
refused to yield to PRC Government pressure and intimidation,
despite being placed under house arrest with her infant daughter
following Hu Jia's imprisonment on trumped up charges of "inciting
subversion."

2. Nomination details:

Name: Zeng Jinyan.

Occupation: Rights activist and mother.

Date of Birth: October 9, 1983.

Country of Birth/Citizenship: China.

Passport #: To be provided later, if possible.

Contact Information: To be provided later.

3. Justification:

Zeng Jinyan is a Chinese rights activist who first earned fame for
"blogging truth to power" during a six-week period in early 2006,
when Chinese authorities detained her husband, the rights activist
Hu Jia, who has worked on issues such as HIV/AIDS and the
environment. Refusing to yield to PRC Government intimidation
despite being placed under house arrest, Zeng blogged about her
famiy's life under constant surveillance and harassment until
August 2008, when authorities removed Zeng and her daughter from
Beijing for the duration of the Olympics. After being returned to
her home in Beijing following the Olympics, Zeng bravely returned to
her blog, posting about her ordeal, her family and Hu Jia's
condition. Previously, Zeng Jinyan and Hu Jia made a 31-minute
video documenting their earlier house arrest from August 2006 to
March 2007. In April 2008, Hu Jia received a
three-and-one-half-year sentence on trumped-up charges of "inciting
subversion."

An inspiration to activists within her own country and throughout
the world, Zeng represents the admirable efforts not just of
courageous women, but all those who strive for justice, human rights
and human dignity. Zeng and her family have been subject to
near-constant harassment, house arrest and detention since the
beginning of 2006. During recent months, she has cared for her
infant daughter while under house arrest and with her husband in
prison. Zeng has nevertheless steadfastly continued to publicize
actively both the plight of her family and human rights conditions
in China. Zeng said that blogging helped her "learn to fight back."
"If a person cannot live with dignity," she wrote, "then what is
the point of enduring it anymore? If I keep being afraid of the
politically powerful but invisible dark forces and my work is
stalled, then what will happen to the old people, children, patients
and volunteers in the AIDS villages?"

Time magazine recognized Zeng's courage prior to the Olympics by
naming her one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2007.
Time called Zeng, who is nicknamed "Tiananmen 2.0," the "online
progeny of the protester who blocked a column of advancing tanks
during China's Tiananmen uprising in 1989." On October 23, 2008,
the European parliament awarded Zeng Jinyan's husband Hu Jia the
Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

4. Embassy contact: Brooke Spelman, telephone +86-10-8531-3827,
e-mail .

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