China - "Huang Qi did what any Chinese citizen would have done in his place" - Appeal by wife of cyber-dissident who has just completed third month in jail



    MONTREAL, Sept. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - After speaking yesterday with Zeng Li,
the wife of imprisoned cyber-dissident Huang Qi, Reporters Without Borders
today publishes a transcript of her comments, in which she appeals to the
international community and describes his arrest as "unfair and unacceptable."
    Huang has been held since 10 June in Chengdu, the capital of the western
province of Sichuan, for posting articles on his website 64Tianwang
(www.64tianwang.com) about the humanitarian situation in the province after
the 12 May earthquake and how international aid was mismanaged by the local
authorities.
    "Huang is the victim of the Chinese judicial system's lack of
independence," Reporters Without Borders said. "The proceedings are not
advancing and his family has no choice but to wait until the authorities deign
to look at his case. His lawyer's requests to see him are being denied, he has
not been able to get any medical treatment although his health is
deteriorating, and no date has been set for his trial. We support his wife's
appeal and we reiterate our call for his release."
    Huang was charged three weeks ago, on 18 July, with "illegal possession
of state secrets" but he will not be allowed his first meeting with his lawyer
until 18 September.
    The following is a transcript of Zeng's comments, which can be heard in
Chinese on the Reporters Without Borders website
(http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=28495)
    "Huang Qi is a cyber-dissident and online journalist who has fought hard
in recent years so that the inhabitants of Sichuan can have access to better
information. He has exposed the injustices they have suffered, and none of his
articles has been disputed by the authorities. During the earthquake, his work
helped to improve the humanitarian situation. He did everything he could to
get equipment where it was needed and to help transport relief aid. He did
what any Chinese citizen would have done.
    Huang Qi posted articles on his website that included statements by
parents who lost their children when schools collapsed during the earthquake.
This is what fueled the anger of the authorities and it was for this reason
that he was arrested. He is charged with 'illegal possession of state
secrets.' It is a totally unfair and unacceptable decision.
    Various political leaders and the government have said on several
occasions that the human rights situation would improve in China. But the
authorities have not kept their promises and they maintain their repressive
policies towards freedom of expression. And now they have taken Huang Qi's
freedom of expression away from him. It is absurd.
    Huang Qi still has very violent headaches as a result of the mistreatment
and torture he underwent the last time he was imprisoned. He is being held in
the absence of any valid legal grounds and he is being treated in an inhumane
manner that violates the basic principle of human dignity. Within Huang Qi's
family, we worry a lot about his health. Thanks to Reporters Without Borders,
we hope this appeal will be heard and diplomatic means will be deployed to end
this situation."




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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