Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the relentlessness of prosecutors and Chinese prison administration against Huang Qi, 55, RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate, who recently fell victim to violence in Mianyang Detention Center, where he has been detained for 22 months in condition that leaves people fear for his life. His trial, scheduled for June 20th 2018, was canceled without a further date.
Last friday, in one of the rare visits permitted, Huang’s lawyer Liu Zhengqing discovered further deterioration of Huang’s health and weight loss. Huang, refusing to plead guilty despite pressure, had suffered fifteen interrogations in just the month of August and complained of have been hit by prosecutor Du Peng, apparent by bruises on his chest.
“By torturing a senior journalist respected for the seriousness of his investigations, Beijing is evidently trying to set an example to intimidate the entire profession of journalism,” said Cédric Alviani, the director of RSF’s East Asia bureau. “Their ceaseless effort to force Huang Qi to plead guilty only shows how empty the charge set against him is.”
Huang Qi, winner of 2004 RSF prize, founder of human-rights information website 64 Tianwang and winner of the 2016 RSF Press Freedom Prize, was arrested on 23 October 2016 for “divulging state secrets abroad,” punishable by death penalty. The journalist suffers from critical liver and kidney diseases as a result from eight years in jail and labor camp.
Last year, two defenders of freedom of information, Nobel Peace Prize and RSF Award laureate Liu Xiaobo and blogger Yang Tongyan, died in detention in China. Ranked 176th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index, China is currently holding more than 50 journalists and bloggers in its prisons.