July 22, 2020 - Updated on August 6, 2020

RSF and NGO coalition call on Chinese President Xi Jinping to pardon journalist at risk of dying in prison

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and a coalition of twelve human rights NGOs call on Chinese President Xi Jinping to pardon journalist and two-time RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate, Huang Qi, who may die in prison if not freed immediately.

In a joint letter published on July 22nd, Reporters Without Borders and a coalition of twelve human rights NGOs urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to pardon investigative journalist Huang Qi from prison. The two time RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate, aged 57, has been detained since November 2016 and was sentenced last year to 12 years in prison despite critical health conditions that put him at risk of dying if not freed immediately.

“This punishment is equivalent to a death sentence considering Huang Qi’s health has already deteriorated from a decade kept in harsh confinement,” says Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia bureau head, who urges President Xi Jinping "to show mercy by exercising his power to pardon, so that Huang Qi can be released before it is too late.”

On July 29th, 2019, the Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Province sentenced Huang Qi to 12 years in prison for leaking state secrets and providing state secrets abroad, after a 2-year detention and a closed trial. The journalist, 2004 RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate and founder of civil-rights information website 64 Tianwang, winner of the same prize in 2016, is in reality being punished for his commitment to reporting human rights violations by certain Chinese officials.

In a statement published on December 20th, 2018 by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), following a petition by RSF, four UN human rights experts called for his release. The document noted that the jailed Chinese journalist was in a dire health condition that would “continue to deteriorate to a fatal point” if he stayed in detention, where he suffered from ill treatment and lack of appropriate medical care.

In 2017, Nobel Peace Prize and RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and the dissident blogger Yang Tongyan both died from cancer that was left untreated in detention, and several other journalists and press freedom defenders are at risk to suffer a similar fate.

China is currently holding more than 114 journalists behind bars and is ranked 177th out of 180 in the RSF 2020 World Press Freedom Index.


  • Article 19
  • Association of Taiwan Journalists
  • Chinese Human Rights Defenders 
  • Committee To Protect Journalists 
  • Freedom House
  • Index On Censorship 
  • International Federation for Human Rights
  • Human Rights Foundation
  • Human Right In China
  • Ligue des droits de l’Homme
  • Taiwan Media Watch Foundation
  • Reporters Without Borders 
  • Safeguard Defenders 

    Read the letter in its entirety: