China: No Access To Family And Proper Medical Care
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.