China: Human rights webmaster sentenced to three years

Huang Qi, founder of Tianwang Center for Missing Persons (later renamed as Tianwang Human Rights Center), was sentenced to three year imprisonment on November 23 in Chengdu Wuhou district court for “illegal possession of state secrets” in connection with material published on his website.

According to BBC's report, Huang's wife Zeng Li, said the verdict was “revenge” for his involvement in the earthquake cases as the information he possessed is available to the public. And Amnesty International said Huang was a victim of China's “vague” state secrets laws and urged for his immediate release.

The Tianwang website was initially set up to help counter human trafficking problem in China in 1998, but later it was expanded to include campaign against human rights abuse. After the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Huang helped the parents who lost their children because of the bean dreg construction problem and gave advice to the families of five dead children who wanted to bring a legal case against the local authorities following the earthquake. Huang was taken by the police in Chengdu in June 2008 and has been held in custody ever since.

huangqi

This is Huang's second arrest. He was arrested in June 3rd 2000 under the charges of “inciting subversion” and sentenced to five years in prison. He was accused of posting on his website articles about the protests written by dissidents living abroad.

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