CHN 001 / 0119 / OBS 005
Arbitrary detention /
January 16, 2019
The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in China.
The Observatory has been informed by the Networkof Chinese Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD) about the closed-door trialand ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. HuangQi, founder and Director of the “64 Tianwang HumanRights Center”, which documents and publishes reportson human rights violations - including enforced disappearances and trafficking,and complaints against government officials.
According to the information received, on January 14, 2019, Mr. HuangQi, who is seriously ill, wassecretly put on trial before the Mianyang City Intermediate Court inSichuan Province on charges of “illegallyproviding State secrets to foreign entities” and “intentionally leaking Statesecrets”. The Observatory is greatly concerned that, in clear violation of Mr.Huang’s right to a fair trial, court proceedings were heldbehind closed doors, no information about the trialwas made public and one of Mr. Huang’s lawyers, Mr. Liu Zhengqing, wasnever informed about the hearing.
Mr.Huang Qi is being detained in Mianyang City Detention Centre. At the time ofpublication of this Urgent Appeal, the court has not yet announced a verdict.
TheObservatory strongly condemns the ongoing judicial harassment and arbitrarydetention of Mr. Huang Qi, which seems tobe merely aimed at punishing him for his legitimate and peaceful human rightsactivities, and remains deeply concerned about his health and conditions ofdetention. His health has indeed seriously deteriorated while in detention (seebackground information).
TheObservatory is further concerned that Mr. Huang Qi’s85-year-old mother has been a victim of enforced disappearance by the Chinese authoritiessince early December 2018. Her fate and whereabouts remain unknown to this day.
TheObservatory recalls that in April 2018, the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinionthat declared Mr. Huang’s detention arbitrary. However, Chinese government continuesto ignore the Working Group’s recommendation that Mr. Huang be released andcompensated. In December 2018, four UN Special Rapporteurs further expressed serious concerns about hisdeteriorating health.
TheObservatory urges Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionallyrelease Mr Huang Qi and his mother, and toensure their psychological well-being and physical integrity. In particular, the Observatory calls on the authorities togive Mr. Huang an immediate and unconditional access to medicaltreatment.
Mianyang city police in Sichuan Province initially detained Mr. Huang Qion November 28, 2016 and arrested him the following month on charges of“illegally providing State secrets to foreign entities.” A trial scheduled forJune 20, 2018 was suspended without any official reason provided. In October 2018police added an additional charge of “leaking State secrets”.
Forthe first 10 months of his detention, police did not allow him any access to alawyer. Once granted access to legal counsel, Mr. Huang reported to his lawyersdifferent forms of torture and other ill-treatment,including extended interrogations,prolonged periods of being forced to stand, and beatings in attempt to force him toconfess.
MoreoverMr. Huang Qi is not receiving adequate medical carein detention and his health has seriously deteriorated. Mr. Huangsuffers from a chronic kidney disease which requires dailymedication, hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid in the brain), heartdisease and dangerously high blood pressure. InOctober 2018, Mr. Huang told his lawyer that Sichuan authorities had purposelyunderstated the dire state of his health and had tried to cover up his actualcondition. Authorities have repeatedly rejected applications for his release onmedical bail.
Lawyers representing Mr. Huang Qi have also faced retaliation. One of his lawyers, Mr. SuiMuqing, was disbarred in February 2018 for defending human rights defenders, including Mr.Huang. The Guangdong judicial bureau has begundisbarment proceedings against Mr.Huang’s current lawyer, Liu Zhengqing, inreprisals for his work.
Mr. Huang Qi established China’s first-known human rights monitoringwebsite in 1998, disseminating reports about Chinese individuals who had beentrafficked and subjected to enforced disappearance. In the past he has servedtwo prison sentences, totalling eight years, in reprisal for his human rightswork, and was often tortured and subjected to ill-treatment.
Please write to the authorities in China, urging them to:
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity andpsychological well-being of Mr. Huang Qi and of his mother, as well asof all human rights defenders in China;
ii. Immediately give Mr. Huang Qi access to an adequate medicaltreatment and more generally ensure that adequate conditions of detention and medicalservices are guaranteed to all persons that have been deprived of liberty and detainedin China, according notably to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for theTreatment of Prisoners;
iii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Huang Qi and his motheras their detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing themfor their human rights activities;
iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judiciallevel - against Mr. Huang Qi and all human rights defenders inChina, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out theirlegitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
v. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9,1998, in particular with Articles 1 and 12.2;
vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamentalfreedoms in accordance with international human rights standards andinternational instruments ratified by China.
· Mr. Li Keqiang,Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 659 611 09 (c/oMinistry of Foreign Affairs), Email: email@example.com
· Mr. Guo Shengkun,Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 1063099216, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E. Mr. ZhaoxuMa, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to theUnited Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 793 70 14, E-mail: email@example.com
· H.E. Mr. QU XING,Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Belgium,Fax: +32-2-7792895; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to thediplomatic representations of China located in your country.
Geneva-Paris, January 16, 2019
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quotingthe code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 bythe World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of thisprogramme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.
- Urgent Interventions
Joint Letter to the Human Rights Council calling for a sustaining attention to human rights violations in China