Human Rights Attorney Arrested for Criticizing the Regime's Earthquake Response

By Zhou Huiying, Central News Agency
June 18, 2008 Updated: June 18, 2008

CHINA—Renowned Chinese human rights attorney, Huang Qi from southwest China's Sichuan Province, was arrested by local authorities without explanation. His mother now appeals for international support to rescue him.

Huang's 74-year-old mother Ms. Pu Wanqing said, “Huang's home had been broken into and was in a mess. His computer was taken away, and his bankbook and some of his clothes were also gone.”

In a Central News Agency (CNA) phone interview Pu said, “The local police station said they did not arrest Huang Qi. They said I should go to Wuhouci Public Security Bureau the next morning to get information on the situation from an officer named Rao.”

First Comprehensive Human Rights Organization

Huang Qi, is 45 years old, and is a well-known human rights attorney in China. He set up the human rights web site 64 Tianwang in 1999, which was later renamed The Center of Chinese Tianwang Human Rights Affairs, the first comprehensive human rights organization in China.

Huang was previously jailed from 2000 to 2005 for “inciting subversion of the state power.”

Regarding Huang's current arrest, The Voice of America (VOA) quoted the U.S. human rights organization, Human Rights in China that Sichuan police confirmed Huang's arrest but they refused to disclose the reason for his arrest.

According to the VOA report, Huang was forced into a car by an unidentified man while eating dinner with two friends in a Chengdu restaurant on June 10. His whereabouts remain unknown.

Arrested for Reporting on the Earthquake

Reporters Without Borders reported that Huang was arrested for publishing articles on the Internet critical of the Chinese government's response after the recent earthquake.

Chinese Tianwang's editor in Denmark, Zhang Guoting, said in a Radio Free Asia interview, “Huang Qi was probably arrested because Tianwang reported the dissatisfaction of the people with the government, and the protests of parents whose children died in the earthquake because of poor quality school buildings. In addition, Huang also accepted foreign reporters' interviews.”

Distributing Relief Supplies

Huang had entered the disaster zone to distribute relief goods several times after the earthquake. He published articles on the Internet critical of the one-sided relief work news reports by China's state-run media. He also accused the Chinese government of impeding non-governmental organizations from participating in the rescue efforts.

Before Huang disappeared, Chinese Tianwang also reported on the arrest of Zeng Hongling, a retired worker in Mianyang, Sichuan, for writing articles related to the earthquake.

Human Rights in China reported that Chinese police are now summoning people who had contacted Huang and who had asked him for help.