CW: This article contains discussion about sexual assault and abuse.
Chinese journalist and #MeToo activist Huang Xueqin who was detained by Chinese police in Guangzhou in October has reportedly been moved to an undisclosed location.
Huang was arrested because of her accurate reporting of the continuing Hong Kong protests. She wrote about her experiences after vising both Hong Kong and Taiwan over the spring and summer. She was planning to attend law school in Hong Kong, according to friends, but she had her documents confiscated before her eventual detention.
Even before this dark turn many human rights organizations, including Reporters Without Boarders, were calling for her release. The move by the Xi government seems to be a clear sign that Beijing has no intention of acquiescing, something that should come as no surprise to those that have been paying attention to how the CCP government handles those who criticize it.
Her supposed crime of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” could carry with it a prison sentence of up to 10 years. This is reminiscence of Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who was detained on made-up charges earlier this year. Recent revelations in the Cheng case make Huang’s move to an unknown local even more ominous.
It has been revealed recently that Cheng was tortured during his time in CCP custody. This should not be shocking, but is most certainly abominable. Sources surrounding Huang, not wishing to be named for reasons obvious to everyone, have stated that her family has already been threatened.
It would come as no surprise if Huang had already been subjected to torture, it is a common tactic of the Chinese Communist Party. This is often a way of extracting false confessions in order to prove, most often to its own people, that everyone is ‘out to get China’ and all those who critique China are ‘criminals’ or ‘liars’.
The likelihood that Huang has endured abuse is underscored by Cédric Alviani, the East Asia Bureau Director at Reporters Without Borders. He states that residential surveillance in a designated location (RSDL), the condition which Huang is being held under, “often leads to the abuse of detainees.” The punishment is often meted out against those who are accused of ‘posing a threat to national security’ in China, something it would be hard to argue Huang did with simple blog posts.
Huang is in desperate need of support from the international community. While it does seem she has the backing of journalist advocacy groups, she needs the help of world leaders to have much of a chance at escaping brutal treatment, or worse.
It should be remembered that Huang has done priceless work for Chinese women and the fight against sexual harassment and assault in China, and around the world. She has released numerous articles and studies detailing the plight of women in the nation and has also helped investigate numerous individuals including professors at some of the top universities in China.
It must likewise never be forgotten that China not only has a problem with female abuse and misogyny, but also with journalists. Reporters Without Boarders ranks China at 177 out of 180 countries, putting it only two spots above North Korea. They currently have, at minimum, 120 journalists detained, though the number is likely much higher. Reporters Without Boarders has called China the “world’s biggest prison for journalists.”
For the latest updates and information on Huang Xueqin and to support her, be sure to follow @FreeXueqin on Twitter.