Call to blacklist China’s human rights abusers as ‘trailblazing’ dissident jailed


Huang Qi. Credit: FrontLineDefenders

Representatives from Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) have submitted to the U.S. State Department a list of the Chinese regime’s worst human rights abusers. The website, which has been rigorously documenting the persecution against Falun Gong for the past 20 years, compiled the names.

“I think that’s very, very important, and we have to get other countries to join in,’ said Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, “We have to get Canada, we have to the European countries, we have to get Australia and other countries to join in, to have targeted sanctions against Chinese officials who are guilty of gross human rights violations.”

The call for a Magnitsky-style accountability for Beijing’s human rights abuses came as a Chinese court on Monday jailed a veteran human rights activist for 12 years.

Huang Qi is known for running a website tracking abuse accusations and helping victims of a 2008 earthquake in the southwestern province of Sichuan, Reuters reports:

Credit: 64 Tianwang

The province’s Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court handed down the sentence after it “determined that Huang Qi is guilty of deliberately leaking state secrets” and was “guilty of illegally providing the secrets outside of China,” it said in a statement. Huang, who is in his mid-fifties, was also stripped of his political rights for four years. He has been in detention since 2016, to the growing concern of rights groups, the United Nations and his mother.

Known as China’s first “cyber-dissident”, Huang ran a website called 64 Tianwang – named after the bloody 4 June 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protesters. His sentence is one of the harshest meted out to a dissident since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, The Guardian adds.

Huang’s trailblazing work would inspire members of China’s “weiquan” — or rights defense — movement to use the Internet to circumvent traditional news outlets and to name and shame officials on issues, which infuriated the government, The Washington Post notes:

Cedric Alviani from Reporters Without Borders, which awarded Huang its Freedom Prize in 2004 and 2016, said Monday that Huang’s 12-year term is “equivalent to a death sentence, considering Huang Qi’s health has already deteriorated from a decade spent in harsh confinement.”

Freedom House

Huang was arrested in November 2016 and accused of “inciting subversion of state power”, since when he has been incarcerated, the BBC reports. Since then, several human rights organisations, including Freedom House and the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, have called for his release and raised concerns about reported threats to his 85-year-old mother, who had been campaigning on his behalf.



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