Human Rights Defender Huang Qi Formally ArrestedComments Off on Human Rights Defender Huang Qi Formally Arrested
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, July 18, 2008) – Huang Qi (黄琦), director of Tianwang Human Rights Center (www.64tianwang.com) detained since June 10, has been formally arrested for “illegal possession of state secrets”.
Huang’s family received the formal arrest warrant today when they went to enquire about Huang’s situation at Chengdu Public Security Bureau (PSB) Wuhou Sub-division. When asked why Huang has not yet been released after the legal limit of 37 days, the police immediately issued the warrant in the presence of his family.
Huang is currently held at Chengdu City Detention Center. Huang is still denied access to legal counsel and police did not notify his lawyers of his formal arrest.
CHRD calls for Huang’s immediate and unconditional release. CHRD believes that Huang has been arrested solely for peaceful expression of opinion. The authorities have abused Huang’s right to freedom of expression guaranteed in Articles 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed, as well as Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution.
CHRD is seriously concerned about the violation of Huang’s right to legal counsel. Since June 10, the police have denied his lawyer’s requests to meet him because his case involves “state secrets,” a vague term which has been arbitrarily invoked in many cases in China. The Chinese laws barring legal access to those accused of state-secret-related crimes violate international conventions such as the ICCPR as well as the Chinese constitution.
Huang is from Chengdu City in Sichuan Province. In 1998, Huang established the first website in China that disseminated news about people who had been trafficked and disappeared. The website evolved to report on issues of injustice and complaints against the government (www.64tianwang.com). On February 22, 2003, Huang was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to five years in prison and one year of political rights deprivation. After his early release on June 4, 2005, he continued his human rights work.
However, Huang disappeared on June 10, 2008. It was later discovered that he had been detained by the police. Huang is believed to be detained for reporting and giving interviews to foreign journalists about protests staged by families of schoolchildren who died in the May 12 Sichuan earthquake. A few days before his detention, Huang met with some of the families who wanted to file lawsuits against officials allegedly responsible for the shoddy school buildings that killed the children.
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Huang Qi, male, human rights activist (August 8, 2006)