Hu Jia, a Chinese campaigner for civil rights, environmental protection and AIDS advocacy, will receive the prestigious Sakharov Prize despite opposition from China’s government officials, Agence France-Presse reports.  

After being sentenced to three-and-a-half years of imprisonment for testifying on human rights abuses in China to the European Parliament’s human rights subcommittee, Hu will receive 50,000 euros for the 20-year-old Sakharov Prize, which is named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Senior lawmakers have accused executive officers such as China’s Ambassador Song Zhu of pressuring members of the European Parliament to not award Hu the prize, asserting that the decision “will only deepen the misunderstanding between the two sides and is not conducive to the promotion of the cause of the world human rights.”

Green party leaders Monica Frassoni and Daniel Cohn-Bendit disagree, stating that giving the award to Hu is “a reflection of this very spirit of this prize, which supports free thought and honors human rights defenders fighting repression.”