Huang Qi (黄琦)Comments Off on Huang Qi (黄琦)
Huang Qi 黄琦
Crime: Illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities
Length of Punishment: N/A
Trial Date: N/A
Sentencing Date: N/A
Dates of Detention/Arrest: November 28, 2016 (detained); December 16, 2016 (arrested)
Place of Incarceration: Mianyang City Detention Center (Sichuan Province)
Huang Qi, founder and director of 64 Tianwang Human Rights Center, was taken from his in late November 2016 by over a dozen police officers from three different cities in Sichuan. A volunteer for the organization, Pu Fei (浦飞), reportedly went out of contact after sending out messages about Huang’s detention, while Huang’s 83-year-old mother went missing days after he was taken into custody. In April 2016, Huang had posted online a document allegedly meant for internal government use listing him as a target for an upcoming crackdown on activists who worked on the 64 Tianwang site. Huang’s colleagues have suspected his current detention is police retaliation for his disclosure of the document. On January 25, 2017, authorities refused an application for bail.
Huang’s lawyers Sui Muqing (隋牧青) and Li Delin (李静林) met with Mianyang City national security officers in February 2017 to discuss Huang’s case. According to their report of the meeting, the officers told them that Huang’s “states secrets” case is because of the release in April 2016 of a document from the Mianyang City government and party officials that called for a crackdown on Huang Qi. Reportedly, petitioner Chen Tianhua (陈天茂) took a photo of the document and provided it to Huang, who released it on the 64 Tianwang website. Government officials then retroactively classified the document as “top secret,” taking advantage of criticized loopholes in China’s state secrets legislation.
Huang Qi was diagnosed with a terminal illness in 2010, according to his lawyer Sui Muqing, without going into the details of the diagnosis. He reportedly has to take nine medications daily and has frequently been hospitalised. Lawyers Sui and Li have applied multiple times for Huang be released on bail on medical grounds, but the request has been repeatedly denied, including twice in February 2017.
Huang established China’s first-known rights monitoring website in 1998, disseminating reports about citizens who had been trafficked and disappeared. By the mid-2000s, the website had evolved to report on human rights violations and complaints against the government. Huang has served two prison sentences, totaling eight years, in reprisal for his human rights work. He received a five-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” in 2003. During the incarceration, Huang was often tortured and mistreated, including being shackled, physically and sexually assaulted, and often forced to sleep next to the restroom.
Huang resumed his advocacy work after his release, in June 2005. Police detained him again in 2008 after he met with families of children who died in schools that collapsed in the Sichuan earthquake. The following year, Huang was sent to prison for three years for “illegal possession of state secrets.” After his release in 2011, Huang continued to document human rights violations, and he has regularly faced harassment and detention around “sensitive” periods, including annual Chinese Communist Party meetings.
Huang Qi, born in 1963, graduated from Sichuan University and was formerly a businessman. Huang’s work in citizen journalism has received international awards, including two from Reporters Without Borders, which awarded 64 Tianwang the Press Freedom Prize in 2016, and honored Huang in 2004 with the Cyber-Freedom Prize. After his second prison term, Huang Qi was diagnosed with acute nephritis, and has needed to take daily medication to manage the illness.