China: Already two years in arbitrary detention for two prominent human rights journalists

Until their arrest in November 2016, Chinese citizen journalists Liu Feiyue and Huang Qi ran two major human rights news sites in China, covering topics such as corruption, health scandals and forced evictions. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Chinese authorities to free them.

"Huang Qi and Liu Feiyue did an admirable job in documenting the social injustices that are commonplace in China. They should receive the highest praise from the State rather than a criminal trial," said Cédric Alviani, RSF's East Asia director. "The United Nations has officially recognized the arbitrariness of their detention, therefore there is no reason why they should still be detained."

Liu Feiyue, founder of the site Minsheng Guancha (Civic Rights and Livelihood Watch), was arrested Nov. 17, 2016 and is being held at number 1 detention center in Suizhou city, Hubei province, on charges of “inciting subversion of state power," for which he risks life imprisonment.

Seriously ill and victim of torture

Huang Qi received the 2004 RSF award and founded the site 64 Tianwang, which won an RSF prize in 2016. He was arrested on November 28, 2016 and detained at Mianyang Prison in Sichuan province on charges of "disclosing state secrets abroad", which can carry a verdict of capital punishment.

Huang Qi's state of health is particularly disturbing. He suffers from serious illnesses that are the legacy of eight years in prison and labor camps. The journalist has also been tortured, for which RSF recently petitioned the UN Special Rapporteur.

China is one of the world’s most egregious jailers of journalists, with more than 60 professional and citizen journalists behind bars. In the 2018 World Press Freedom Index published by RSF, the country ranks 176 out of 180.