Feedback | Friday, July 19, 2024

Chinese #MeToo activist sentenced to five years in prison, supporters say

A Chinese court sentenced leading #MeToo activist Huang Xueqin to five years’ imprisonment on subversion charges on Friday, supporters told Reuters.

The co-accused labour activist Wang Jianbing was sentenced to three years and six months in prison, supporters said.

Huang, a 35-year-old independent journalist, has been imprisoned since 2021. She was put on trial with labour activist Wang Jianbing, 40, last year, accused of “inciting subversion of state power”, her supporters said, citing people with knowledge of the case.

The pair denied any wrongdoing during the closed-door trial, they added, declining to be identified due to security concerns.

The charges of sedition against the pair were based on the gatherings they often held for Chinese youth during which they discussed social issues.

“They could face severe penalties,” the campaign group Free Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing, which is comprised mainly of overseas-based activists, said in a statement.

“Their efforts and dedication to labour, women’s rights, and the broader civil society won’t be negated by this unjust trial, nor will society forget their contributions. On the contrary, as oppression persists and injustice grows, more activists like them will continue to rise.”

There was a heavy security presence around Guangzhou People’s Intermediate Court on Friday morning, with police questioning bystanders.

The charge “inciting subversion of state power” is frequently used by the Chinese government against dissidents and carries a maximum prison term of five years but can be longer if the suspect is considered a ringleader or to have committed serious crimes.

The day before her arrest on Sept. 19, 2021, Huang had been scheduled to fly to Britain to begin a master’s degree at the University of Sussex on a British government-funded scholarship, the campaign group has previously said.

Huang, who covered Chinese #MeToo allegations and the 2019 Hong Kong anti-government protests, had been detained by Chinese police for three months in late 2019.

The two activists were put in solitary confinement for a period of months, supporters have previously said. Police in Guangzhou did not respond to a faxed request for comment.

(Reuters)

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Last Updated: 19th Jul 2024