Today, 28 November 2022, marks six years since Chinese authorities arrested independent journalist Huang Qi in Chengdu, China. Before his arrest, Huang Qi – a respected journalist and two-time laureate of the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Award – had reported on numerous human rights abuses on his website 64 Tianwang. In April 2018, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) cited allegations of torture and forced confession, finding that his ongoing detention was arbitrary. In December of that year, a group of four UN human rights experts expressed grave concern over his deteriorating health. In July 2019, in a secret trial, the Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Province sentenced Huang Qi to 12 years in prison for ‘leaking state secrets’ and ‘providing state secrets abroad’. Huang Qi’s health in prison remains dire as he suffers from a number of critical ailments.
Since his sentencing, his lawyers and family members have been repeatedly denied requests to meet with him in person. His elderly mother, Pu Wenqing, who is nearly 90 years old and suffering from cancer, has also been kept under surveillance since her son’s arrest.
Michael Caster, Asia Digital Programme Manager at ARTICLE 19, said:
‘Huang Qi’s ongoing arbitrary imprisonment and ill-treatment, the nasty denial of family visitation, and the harassment of his elderly mother are acts of cruelty from a system that only knows how to terrorise those courageous enough to speak freely and share information.’
‘For six years the Chinese government has been punishing Huang Qi and those close to him for his commitment to freedom of expression. China is a country where journalists and other human rights defenders are routinely subjected to abuse and denied medical attention, most famously leading to the death in custody of Nobel Prize winning writer Liu Xiaobo. China must not be allowed to add to these grisly statistics. Huang Qi should be immediately released and provided medical attention. The surveillance and harassment of his family must end.’
For more information
Michael Caster, Asia Digital Programme Manager, email@example.com