DOWNLOAD A PDF OF UA 284/16, UPDATE 10 BELOW
Huang Qi, founder and director of Sichuan-based human rights website “64 Tianwang”, has had no access to his family since 2020, and his health has significantly deteriorated and is at risk of worsening further. It has been reported that Huang has not been able to access proper medical care recently especially during the period when the pandemic has intensified in China. He has also been unable to access the account where his friends and family deposited money for him to purchase additional supplies. Detained since 2016, Huang was able to see his mother only once on 17 September 2020 through a video call. The authorities must ensure that Huang has access to immediate and proper medical care and allow him to speak with his family and lawyers of his choice.
Huang Qi (黄琦) is a human rights defender who is currently serving a 12-year sentence in Sichuan Bazhong Prison for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. Huang was known to suffer from chronic kidney disease and hydrocephalus, as well as other conditions affecting his heart and lungs, before being detained. Huang’s mother, Pu Wenqing is currently under heavy surveillance and cannot meet with her son. Pu, 89 years old, has repeatedly requested the authorities to allow her to visit Huang, but none of these requests have been granted. The last time she spoke with Huang was through a video call on 17 September 2020. Pu’s health has also been deteriorating rapidly, and she fears she might not be able to speak to Huang again.
Write to the Prison Director urging him to:
- ensure that Huang Qi receives urgent, regular, and adequate medical care
- ensure that he has regular and unrestricted access to his family and to lawyers of his choice, and that he is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.
Write to: And Copy:
Director Su Yuanliang His Excellency Peiwu Cong
Sichuan Bazhong Prison Ambassador
9, Xiangjiazhui, Bazhou Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
Bazhong shi, Sichuan sheng, 636005 515 St. Patrick Street
People’s Republic of China Ottawa, ON K1N 5H3
Salutation: Dear Director Su: Fax: 613 789 1911
Huang Qi founded “64 Tianwang” together with his then wife, Zeng Li, in 1998, and the website continues to publish reports of the human right violations investigated by citizen journalists in China. Huang Qi was charged with “intentionally leaking state secrets” (故意泄露国家秘密罪) and “providing state secrets to a foreign entity” (为境外非法提供情报罪) by the Mianyang City Intermediate People’s Court on 29 July 2019.
Huang Qi was first taken away in 2016 and has reported incidents of ill-treatment throughout his detention. On 23 October 2018, he told his lawyer that doctors and detention centre officers provided false reports of his blood pressure and understated the extent of his critical medical conditions. Prior to that, on 28 July 2017, Huang Qi told his lawyer that he was made to stand for hours at a time and was repeatedly questioned and insulted by officers since his detention in late 2016. On 3 November 2017 he also shared that he had been beaten up by other detainees at the Mianyang City Detention Centre, Sichuan Province, on 24-26 October, with the knowledge of at least one of the detention centre’s officers.
Over the years, Huang Qi and other “64 Tianwang” contributors have been frequently detained or harassed by the Chinese authorities. Huang Qi has been put on trial and sentenced to terms of imprisonment twice. He was detained in June 2000 – the 11th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown – before being convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to five years in prison in May 2003. He was again imprisoned for three years after exposing the substandard building scandal following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan.
In addition, lawyers who have worked on Huang Qi’s case have also faced harassment and intimidation by the authorities. In February 2018, the Guangdong Provincial Department of Justice notified Guangzhou-based lawyer Sui Muqing that he was being disbarred. The lawyer, who had previously represented Huang Qi, believes his disbarment was related to his legal representation of human rights defenders. Another of Huang Qi’s lawyers, Liu Zhengqing, was also disbarred in January 2019.
There is an alarming pattern of deaths of imprisoned Chinese activists, either in detention or after being belatedly released on medical parole. In July 2017, human rights activist and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo died in custody after the authorities refused his and his family’s requests to receive treatment abroad for his cancer. The same year, Chinese writer and government critic Yang Tongyan (pen name Yang Tianshui) died three months after being released on medical parole and undergoing an operation to remove a brain tumour. Beijing activist and prominent campaigner Cao Shunli died from organ failure after months in custody in March 2014. She was denied appropriate medical treatment while in jail.
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