This statement was originally published on article19.org on 23 July 2020.
11 human rights organisations, including ARTICLE 19, sent a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping calling on him to pardon journalist Huang Qi, who is suffering from a life-threatening health condition. Huang Qi has reported extensively on corruption cases and human rights violations in China. He is a two-time winner of the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Award (RSF). On 29 July 2019, he was sentenced by the Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Province to 12 years in prison for “leaking state secrets” and “providing state secrets abroad” following a closed trial that failed to demonstrate his culpability. Huang Qi suffers from critical liver and kidney diseases and may die if he remains in prison.
Mr. Xi Jinping
People’s Republic of China
The State Council General Office 2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu
Paris, July 22nd, 2020
As a collective of non-governmental organizations defending human rights and freedom of the press, we urge you to pardon journalist Huang Qi, two-time laureate of the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Award (RSF), who is suffering from a critical health condition and may die soon if he remains in detention.
Huang Qi is a seasoned journalist who has done remarkable work in informing the public about corruption cases and human rights violations, in accordance with the principle of press freedom enshrined in Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
On July 29th, 2019, Huang Qi was sentenced by the Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Province to 12 years in prison for “leaking state secrets” and “providing state secrets abroad” following a closed trial that failed to demonstrate his culpability.
This harsh and unfair punishment equals a death sentence, considering that Huang Qi suffers from critical liver and kidney diseases. On December 20, 2018, in a statement published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, four experts insisted that his condition would “continue to deteriorate to a fatal point” if not released.
These UN experts also pointed out that Huang Qi had been the victim of ill treatment during the two years of his pre-trial detention, which clearly goes against the United Nations Convention against torture that China ratified in 1988.
Furthermore, Huang Qi’s mother, Pu Wenqing, 87, has also requested to see her son “for the last time” as her health is rapidly deteriorating due to lung cancer. On the grounds of basic human dignity, we appeal to you to grant Huang Qi the opportunity to meet his mother again before it’s too late.
We urge you, Mr. President, to show mercy by exercising the power to pardon granted to you by Article 80 of the Chinese Constitution and ensure Huang Qi is released before it is too late.
Please accept the assurances of our highest consideration.
Association of Taiwan Journalists
Chinese Human Rights Defenders
Committee To Protect Journalists
Human Rights Foundation
Human Right In China
Index On Censorship
Reporters Without Borders
Taiwan Media Watch Foundation
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
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Source: MEDIA FEED