China: RSF urges for release of investigative journalist Huang Xueqin on the second anniversary of her detention

Following months of delays, the pre-trial of the of investigative journalist known for her involvement in the #MeToo movement is scheduled for 19 September, exactly two years after she was arrested on trumped-up charges of “inciting subversion of state power”. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for her immediate release.


Update 19/09/2023: The trial of Huang Xueqin and Wang Jiangbing is scheduled for Friday 22 September 2023.


Tuesday, 19 September 2023 marks two years since Chinese independent journalist Huang Xueqin (Sophia Huang), 2022 RSF Press Freedom Prize nominee, famous for her involvement in the #MeToo movement in China, has been detained together with labour activist Wang Jianbing for “inciting subversion of state power”, a trumped-up charge that carries a maximum 15 years long sentence.

After two years of the repeated delays, the pre-trial of Huang and Wang has been finally scheduled for 19 September, same day as her arrest anniversary, at Intermediate People's Court in the city of Guangzhou, southern China. The date for an official trial is not yet announced; however, according to Huang’s friends, it may closely follow the pre-trial meeting.

“The deliberately prolonged detention without a trial of Huang Xueqin, a prominent journalist who was only serving the public interest by investigating social issues, demonstrates the determination of the Chinese government to silence all remaining independent voices in the country. We urge the international community to build up pressure on the Chinese authorities to secure Huang’s release alongside all other journalists and press freedom defenders detained in the country.

Cédric Alviani RSF
Asia-Pacific Bureau Director

Huang is awaiting trial in No.1 Detention Center in Guangzhou, where she’s reportedly subjected to mistreatment, and possibly torture. In the beginning of her detention, Huang was placed in solitary confinement for five months without access to her lawyers and faced repeated interrogations, often in the midst of the night. She has lost a lot of weight, reportedly stopped menstruating, and suffers from severe calcium deficiency, hypoglycemia and low blood pressure. Stabbing pains in her waist, reported by her friends, are believed to be a result of prolonged interrogation in the "tiger chair", a notorious torture tool used by the Chinese police.

“We are both outraged and in pain. We are outraged that the government delayed the trial for so long, and even though the charge is fabricated and investigation has been completed, the authorities further delayed the trial to weaken their will, and to wipe out the public's attention on their case. We are also in pain due to the physical torture and psychological hurt Huang and Wang have endured.

Group of friends of Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing

In the 2010s, Huang Xueqin worked as a journalist for mainstream media in China, and covered issues such as women’s rights, corruption, and industrial pollution. Huang has also been previously detained for three months in 2019 under the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” for covering the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he has been conducting a large-scale crusade against journalism, as revealed in RSF’s report published in December 2021 The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, which details Beijing’s efforts to control information and media within and outside its borders.

China ranks 179th out of 180 in the 2023 RSF World Press Freedom Index and is the world's largest captor of journalists and press freedom defenders with at least 114 detained.

179/ 180
Score : 22.97
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