China court sentences women’s rights activists for ‘subversion’ News
Cyndy Sims Parr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
China court sentences women’s rights activists for ‘subversion’

Chinese activists Sophia Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing were sentenced on Friday by the Guangzhou Intermediate Court to five years and three years and six months in prison, respectively, for “subversion against the state,” as shared by supporters of the activists on social media.

Sophia Huang Xueqin, a prominent women’s rights activist in China who reported via her blog, has already expressed her intent to appeal the court’s decision. Whether Labor activist Wang Jianbing intends to appeal has yet to be made public.

According to news reports, the two were arrested in September 2021, shortly before Huang Xueqin was meant to start her Master’s degree at the University of Sussex. Their case went to trial two years later, in September 2023. The prosecution’s indictment, which was published by the Free Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing group, accused them of organizing meetings to discuss social topics to incite citizens’ dissatisfaction with the Chinese government. Allegedly, this violated Article 105, Section 2, of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, as they ignored national laws and used rumors and slander to incite subversion of state power and overthrow the socialist system.

The non-profit organization Committee to Protect Journalists called the verdicts “harsh and unjust” and demanded that the “Chinese authorities must drop all charges.” Amnesty International’s China Director Sarah Brooks said that the convictions were “malicious” and “totally groundless” and also demanded their immediate release.

According to the human rights NGO, activists in the country have increasingly faced state crackdowns on social and human rights-related topics, where Chinese authorities cite vague provisions to prosecute not only activists but also lawyers, scholars, and journalists.