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Chinese authorities kidnap witness in rights activist's case

August 7, 2009

August 6, 2009

Dharamsala, Aug 6 - A closed hearing in Chengdu
Wuhou District Court yesterday on the case of
Sichuan rights activist and founder of Tianwang
Human Rights Center, Huang Qi, produced no
outcome with the authorities postponing the verdict.

Huang Qi was arrested by authorities after
actively participating in Sichuan earthquake
relief activities and helping parents who had
lost their children seek justice. Huang Qi’s
lawyers, Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui, appeared in
court to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf.

New York based rights group, Human Rights in
China (HRIC), said Pu Fei, a volunteer for
Tianwang Human Rights Center who was taken away
with Huang Qi last June by unidentified people
was willing to appear in court to testify in
support of Huang Qi but was prevented by the
police. Pu Fei was kidnapped in Chengdu by four
police officers, brought to Nantong, and
prevented from appearing in court, the HRIC said.
The police threatened him, saying, “Our public
security offices are doing this to prevent you
from continuing to commit crimes." Pu Fei was
detained for two days, and was only released
after the conclusion of Huang Qi’s hearing.

"Authorities who violate the law, by abducting
witnesses in broad daylight, cause serious doubt
that justice will be served in Huang Qi’s trial,”
said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human
Rights in China. “This case, which is already
tainted by suspicious politicization of the legal
process, demonstrates that it is, as rights
defender Teng Biao noted recently, the rule of
law that is on trial in China. The Chinese
authorities need to take immediate and public
steps to assure domestic and international
confidence in the fairness and openness of the trial."

Huang Qi disappeared suddenly on June 10, 2008,
two months before the Beijing Olympics, because
of his reports of the situation in
earthquake-affected areas. It has been over a
year since he was arrested by the authorities on
the charge of “illegal possession of state secrets.”

Huang Qi established the Chengdu Tianwang Missing
Persons Inquiry Service Center in October 1998
and the Tianwang Missing Persons website on June
4, 1999. This website was widely recognized by
the media for its work on helping to find many
missing people and unite family members. On June
3, 2000, Huang Qi was arrested by the Chengdu
police for “voicing grievances about June Fourth,
crying out for the democracy movement,” and other
charges. After being detained for three years,
Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court sentenced
Huang Qi to five years’ imprisonment on May 9,
2003 for the crime of inciting subversion of
state power. During his detention, Huang Qi
contracted hydrocephalus, encephalatrophy,
rheumatic heart disease, and other illnesses due
to long periods of brutal beatings and torture,
according to HRIC. He was released in 2005, and
continued to work for domestic rights, publish
rights protection information, and provide assistance to vulnerable groups.
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