Chinese Dissident Huang Qi Released

Huang Qi was back home last Friday after a three-year prison sentence. The 48-year-old activist was jailed after exposing the poorly constructed schools that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Now a free man, Huang is already planning to get back to his activism. This includes restarting his 64 Tianwang website—dedicated to helping disadvantaged individuals.

[Huang Qi, Rights Activist]:
“During my three years in prison, 30 or so Tianwang volunteers were also jailed. They met with me after my release, and I feel as a whole, we still have the fight in us. After discussing things, we want to restart Tianwang within one to two weeks. Our mission is to walk with those without rights, without power and without names. We’d never hide from our responsibilities to those who are suffering.”

Huang Qi spent five years in jail between 2000 and 2005 for so called “subversion” charges, after launching the 64 Tianwan website. He says mistreatment in prison took a physical toll on his body, which worsened after his latest jail term. He was sentenced for allegedly “illegal possession of state-secrets.”

[Huang Qi, Rights Activist]:
“After beatings by police in 2000, I had injuries which led to hydrocephalus and brain atrophy. Sleeping on the cold prison floors also left me with heart disease. I received no treatment for these during this [latest] three-year prison term. My diseases have worsened and my body is quite weak.”

Huang says prison officials confiscated his notebooks and personal things before he was released last Friday. Authorities also warned him to keep away from other dissidents.


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