WASHINGTON—The United States on Aug. 1 called for China to immediately release an imprisoned veteran human rights activist, saying a Chinese court violated fundamental human freedoms this week when it sentenced him to jail for 12 years.
Huang Qi, who has been detained since 2016 and is known for running a website tracking abuse accusations, was also stripped of his political rights for four years in the sentence handed down on Monday by a court in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan.
“We call on China to immediately release Mr. Huang, and to allow him access to his family, medical care, and legal counsel as soon as possible,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
“The imprisonment of Huang Qi underscores China’s continued repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including free speech,” she added. “We urge the Chinese government to uphold its international commitments related to fair trial guarantees and the rule of law.”
Huang’s sentence is one of the most severe rulings against a dissident since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
Huang, an engineering graduate from Sichuan University, founded 64 Tianwang in the late 1990s, along with an organization called Tianwang Tracing Office, aimed to track cases of human trafficking by posting information about missing persons.
Through his website, 64 Tianwang, Huang reported on human rights concerns relating to groups targeted by the regime, including dissidents, petitioners, Falun Gong practitioners, and other suppressed faith groups in the country. His website is censored in China.
By Susan Heavey. Epoch Times reporter Nicole Hao contributed to this report.