China Website Founder Jailed for Three Years

 

The

International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) condemns a sentence of three years’ jail imposed against cyber

dissident Huang Qi today by the Court of Wuhou in China’s

Sichuan Province.

 

Huang,

46, the founder of the 64 Tianwang website (www.64tianwang.com),

was detained in June 2008 after posting an article online which criticised the Government’s

handling of the Sichuan earthquake disaster in May.

 

Local

reports said the judge found Huang guilty of “illegal possession of state

secrets” on the basis that Huang had disclosed confidential information from

two municipal governments considered to be “state secrets”.

 

However,

Zeng Li, Huang’s wife, told the IFJ that the information used by Huang regarding

regulations for managing the complaints departments of local and central

governments was publicly available on local government websites at the time the

article was written.

 

“The

conviction of Huang for making use of information that was already in the

public realm is a gross miscarriage of justice,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

 

Police

reportedly forcibly removed Zeng and Huang’s mother from the courtroom today after

they demanded an appeal.

 

Two

elderly supporters attending the trial were reportedly assaulted today by

unidentified people outside the court. Others were blocked entry to watch the

proceedings.

 

Zeng

said an appeal would be lodged and expressed concern about Huang’s health and

well-being. Huang’s lawyer, Mo Shaoping, and Zeng have applied for medical

parole six times without success.

 

“Huang’s

conviction marks a step away from China achieving the openness its

authorities have promised,” White said.

 

Huang

was detained in 2000 and formally charged in 2003 with “subversion” for critical

commentary about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. He spent five years in

jail before being released on June 4, 2005.

 

In

2008, Huang helped victims of the Sichuan

earthquake gain access to humanitarian support and accepted foreign press

interviews, which upset the local government.

 

The

IFJ calls on China’s

courts to withdraw the case against Huang and free him immediately.

 

   For further information

contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612

9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide