IWMF Concerned for Wellbeing of Imprisoned Chinese Journalist Xueqin Huang; Condemns Prolonged Detention
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is alarmed by reports of severe human rights violations against Xueqin (Sophia) Huang, a Chinese freelance journalist and the IWMF’s 2022 Wallis Annenberg Justice for Women Journalists Award winner. Sophia has now been detained for more than 500 days by the Chinese government, suffering from mistreatment and abuse that have resulted in a steep decline in her health.
Sophia was forcibly disappeared in September 2021 alongside activist Wang Jianbing on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” in relation to her reporting on the #MeToo movement and political corruption in China. She has remained in pre-trial detention in Guangzhou since, facing a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
The IWMF has received confirmation that Sophia has endured legal, psychological, and healthcare abuse during her detention. Her lawyers were removed from her case and replaced by state-appointed legal counsel with whom she has not been able to communicate freely. Additionally, Sophia has been subjected to months of solitary confinement and intense interrogations suspected to involve torture. Sophia’s health is now rapidly deteriorating, and she is not being provided adequate medical care.
Journalists are not criminals. The mistreatment Sophia has experienced is a clear, condemnable attempt by Chinese authorities to silence its critics and oppress independent media. We demand that Sophia receive urgent medical support, that her right to counsel is protected and that she is provided an open trial. Above all, we demand her freedom.