Human Rights in China (HRIC) was informed on December 1, 2009, that Sichuan earthquake activist Huang Qi (黄琦), who was convicted of “illegal possession of state secrets” and sentenced to three years in prison, is trying to file an appeal before his appeal period expires in two days. His efforts, however, are being obstructed by the authorities.
Huang Qi’s wife told HRIC that, on December 1, when defense lawyer Ding Xikui (丁锡奎) went to visit Huang Qi at the Chengdu Detention Center, Huang told him that the Chengdu Detention Center would not allow him to mail out his written appeal, and that Ding’s request to physically bring the appeal document out of the center was also refused.
Ding Xikui officially reported this to the court on the same day, pointing out that Huang Qi’s 10-day appeal period will expire in only two days, and requesting that the judge “contact the detention center, or interview Huang Qi in person to ensure his right to appeal within the legal appeal period.”
Earlier that day, Huang Qi’s wife, elderly mother, and lawyer Ding Xikui went again to the Wuhou People’s Court, requesting the court to provide copies of the verdict announced on November 23. However, the court only provided one copy to Ding and again rejected the request of Huang’s family members. On November 23, the family requested a copy of the verdict, and though the court is legally required to provide the verdict to them, the presiding judge Shui Changbing (税长冰) berated Huang’s mother Pu Wenqing (蒲文清) and refused to give her and Huang’s wife a copy.
According to the verdict received by Huang Qi’s defense counsel, the “state secrets” that resulted in Huang Qi’s conviction and sentence consisted of two documents issued by a city in Jiangsu Province and one confidential document issued by the Central Political Committee of the Communist Party of China. The verdict did not identify the contents or names of those confidential documents. However, it explained that the three documents were stored on a hard disk that was seized on June 11, 2008, during a search of the Tianwang Human Rights Center where Huang also temporarily resided. In their defense statement the lawyers maintain that these “state secrets” are in fact public information.
Huang Qi has been a long-time activist. He served five years in prison for the crime of “inciting subversion of state power” from 2000 to 2005. During his former detention, Huang Qi contracted hydrocephalus, encephalatrophy, rheumatic heart disease, and other illnesses due to long periods of brutal beatings and torture. After he was released from prison in 2005, Huang Qi continued his activism. On June 10, 2008, he was kidnapped by unidentified people after he provided assistance to the earthquake victims and published information about them. After a closed trial held on August 5, 2009, he was sentenced on November 23, 2009, to three years’ imprisonment for “illegally holding state secrets.”
For more information on Huang Qi, see:
- Human Rights in China, “HRIC Condemns Three-Year Sentence for Earthquake Activist,” November 23, 2009
- Human Rights in China, “Authorities Kidnapped and Prevented Court Appearance by Witness for Huang Qi’s Case,” August 5, 2009
- Human Rights in China, “Authorities Denied Bail and Medicines for Detained Activist Huang Qi,” July 28, 2008
- Human Rights in China, “Detained Rights Activist Huang Qi Formally Arrested,” July 18, 2008
- Human Rights in China, “Huang Qi Denied Access to Counsel,” June 24, 2008
- Human Rights in China, “Rights Activist Huang Qi Detained on Suspicion of Holding State Secrets,” June 16, 2008
- Human Rights in China, “Human Rights in China Condemns the Detention of Huang Qi by Police in Chengdu,” June 14, 2008
For more information on state secrets, see:
- Human Rights in China, Law of the People’s Republic of China on Guarding State Secrets (Revised Draft) (2009) Full Text and Explanation, July 24, 2009
- Human Rights in China, State Secrets: China’s Legal Labyrinth. New York: Human Rights in China, 2007.