Urgent Action Update: Health Fears for Prisoner of Conscience (China: UA 284.16)
September 24, 2020
Huang Qi, founder and director of Sichuan-based human rights website “64 Tianwang”, was finally able to talk to his mother on 17 September 2020, the first time since he was detained more than four years ago. It is reported that his health had deteriorated and that he appears to show symptoms of malnutrition. Known to suffer from serious health concerns, there are grave fears for his wellbeing. Sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment following a secret trial in January 2019, Huang Qi is a prisoner of conscience who has been detained solely for exercising his human right to freedom of expression.
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Minister Tang Yijun Minister of Justice
6, Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Beijing Shi, 100051
People’s Republic of China
Ambassador Cui Tiankai Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 I Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected][email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Minister Tang,
I am writing to express my grave concern for the health and wellbeing of Huang Qi (黄琦), a human rights defender who is currently serving a 12-year sentence in Sichuan Bazhong Prison for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. It is distressing to learn that Huang Qi has still had no access to a lawyer of his choice since being sentenced to prison.
After being held incommunicado for four years, it was a relief to learn that Huang Qi was finally able to have a video call with his mother on 17 September 2020. However, I find it worrying that Huang’s mother does not know whether she will be able to speak to Huang Qi again, as no confirmation has been provided that any future meetings will be allowed. Without regular and unrestricted access to his family, and a lawyer of his choice, I fear that Huang Qi remains at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
I find it distressing to hear reports that Huang Qi’s health has deteriorated and that he appears to show symptoms of malnutrition. Already known to suffer from chronic kidney disease and hydrocephalus, as well as other conditions affecting his heart and lungs, Huang Qi’s access to immediate and proper medical care must be given absolute priority.
Huang Qi is a prisoner of conscience, detained simply for exercising his human right to freedom of expression and must be immediately and unconditionally released, as he has been detained solely for peacefully exercising his human rights.
I call on you to immediately ensure that he has regular, unrestricted access to family and lawyers of his choice and is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment; and allow him prompt, regular and unrestricted access to medical care on request or as necessary.