Journalist and webmaster Huang Qi was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after the mainland found out that he was instrumental in leaking subversive documents. But before this decision is released, Qi has been held in the locked up cell for more than three years for charges relating to national security threats.
The online activist is known as the founder of the 64 Tianwang site. The portal primarily serves as the ‘meeting ground’ for people who lost their loved ones through the years. In other words, this website has a database profile system that you can check and locate a person’s whereabouts. However, as years passed by, Chinese authorities discovered some ‘odd’ mutations on the website that they really don’t like. In the past few years, 64 Tianwang has been producing documentaries and news articles focusing on the alleged human rights violations committed by the local authorities.
The recent decision reaped a lot of negative comments from the international press. Different media groups are appealing to President Xi Jinping to spare the journalist from decade-long imprisonment. But despite these appeals, Beijing has yet to provide positive feedback on the case of Qi.
According to journalist Christophe Deloire, the court’s decision is too much. Aside from the fact that it abruptly arrests the freedom of speech, the 12 years confinement is an ‘extreme’ punishment for a passionate press. Deloire further stressed that being detained for more than a decade already tantamount to the death penalty.
Meanwhile, to honor the great courage of Qi in exposing the cruelties of the mainland, Reporters Without Borders awarded the journalist with the Cyber Freedom Prize.
In retrospect, Qi started his website in the year 1998. His primary goal that time was just to connect people with their loved ones. But because he noticed that there’s something wrong in China, he opted to cover a more significant cause and started exposing the ‘real’ and ‘not-so-good’ situations in the mainland.