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China 23 November 2006

Cyber-dissident Huang Qi again threatened by local authorities

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about attempts to intimidate cyber-dissident Huang Qi, who is in the government’s sights again for posting comments and photos about a demonstration by retired workers in the southwestern city of Chengdu on his website, www.64tianwang.com, in June. Nanguang, a company operated by state agencies, published a propaganda leaflet accusing him of helping to organise the protests.

“Huang already served a five-year prison sentence, from 2000 to 2005, for articles he had posted online,” the press freedom organisation said. “He does not organise workers’ rallies, he just covers them on his website. We call on the Chinese authorities to stop this harassment.”

The authorities have accused Huang of illegally leading and supporting retired employees of the Chengdu-based company Nanguang who regularly demonstrate to demand payment of their pensions. “I am a human rights activist and the Nanguang workers deserve to be talked about by me on my site,” Huang said.

The bureau of commerce leaflet also claims that the Nanguang workers have links with foreign organisations and journalists working for the US-based Radio Free Asia. Workers are singled out as anti-communist activists, which means they are under constant threat of arrest.

Huang was arrested at his Chengdu home on 3 June 2000 for posting articles about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre on his website, which was moved to a server in the United States after being banned in China. Indicted in January 2001 for “subversion” and “incitement to overthrow the state authority,” he finally received a five-year sentence in May 2003. After being freed on 5 June 2005, he said he was mistreated while in prison.

Reporters Without Borders awarded him its Cyber-Freedom Prize in 2004.




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