Huang Qi, a Chinese journalist and “cyber-dissident,” was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison for illegally disclosing and providing state secrets abroad.
Huang Qi is the founder of 64 Tianwang, a Chinese news site that has reported frequently on protests and human rights abuses by the People’s Republic of China. His site has displayed articles on the 1989 protests for democracy in Tiananmen Square. He provided advice to families in Sichuan Province in their case against the government for children who died in schoolhouses during earthquakes there. He reported on Tiananmen Square again in 2014 when a woman tried to set herself on fire there to protest the opening of the National People’s Congress. Each of these reports led to significant jail time for Huang Qi, which he served and was released from.
Huang Qi has been in prison most recently since 2016 for “inciting subversion of state power.” His new sentence for “disclosing state secrets and illegally providing state secrets abroad” will come with 12 years in prison, four years deprivation of political rights, and confiscation of 20,000 yuan of personal property. His supporters fear that after developing heart disease, kidney disease, and high blood pressure during his last prison sentence, this new one will serve as a death sentence. A number of human rights organizations including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have called for Huang Qi’s release on these grounds. There has been no response to these calls so far.