By Tenzin Dharpo
Chinese human rights activist Huang Qi. photo- Gillian Wong_AP
DHARAMSHALA, July 30: Chinese human rights activist who ran a banned website in China that publishes allegations of corruption and abuse of power in the country among others has been sentenced to 12 years in jail by a Chinese court on Monday.
Huang Qi, the founder of 64 Tianwang website was detained since last three years and was sentenced by the Mianyang Intermediate People's Court to 12 years in jail on July 29. An official statement said he had been found guilty of “intentionally leaking state secrets to foreigners” and that he would be deprived of his political rights for four years and had also been fined 20,000 Yuan.
The veteran Chinese activist’s website that was initially created to help and track down disappeared people and to counter human trafficking in China, later published allegations of abuse of power and corruption in the country as well as on issues such as Tiananmen square massacre, Falung Gong and Xinjiang’s Uygyur atrocities. The website banned in China has its servers moved to the United States for fears of shutting it down by the government.
The 56 year old has earlier been jailed on two separate occasions totalling to eight years in prison resulting in kidney and heart complications as well as blood pressure irregularities. Critics say his poor health may result in him being yet another prisoner who dies in prison, a phenomenon that is notoriously prevalent in Chinese jails.
"This decision is equivalent to a death sentence, considering Huang Qi's health has already deteriorated from a decade spent in harsh confinement," said Christophe Deloire, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders.
The prosecution of the Chinese activist has also been called into question with many saying China’s assault on dissidents and rights activists is apparently rampant and unchecked. Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch called for his release and quashing of the sentencing. “The fabricated case against Huang Qi shows the Chinese government’s boundless hostility to peaceful activism. The 12-year sentence is an act of cruelty toward the gravely ill Huang and his mother, whom the authorities have relentlessly harassed,” she said.