Chinese journalist who promoted #MeToo movement sentenced to 5 years in prison

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BEIJING (AP) — Advocates say a Chinese journalist who promoted women’s rights as part of the country’s nascent #MeToo movement has been sentenced to five years in prison nearly three years later on charges of inciting subversion of state authority . she and an activist were detained.

The verdict provided to The Associated Press stated that Huang Xueqin would also have to pay a fine of 100,000 yuan ($14,000), underscoring the ruling Communist Party’s intolerance toward any activism outside its control in a system whose upper echelons are dominated by men.

China’s #MeToo movement flourished briefly before being wiped out by the government. China often silences activists by holding them incommunicado for a long time and then sentencing them to prison.

Huang’s release date was September 18, 2026, which explains her previous detention. Co-suspect Wang Jianbing was sentenced to three years and six months on the same charge. Wang is more known for his labor rights work, but has also helped women report sexual harassment.

Huang and Wang’s cases appear to have become intertwined as part of the latest wave of widespread crackdowns on human rights defenders, a trend that predates the #MeToo movement and includes previous incidents such as the 2015 arrests of women who distributed pamphlets against sexual harassment in public. transport.

Working as a freelance journalist, Huang helped spark China’s first #MeToo case in 2018, when she published allegations of sexual harassment made against her PhD by a graduate student. supervisor at one of China’s most prestigious universities.

Friends say Huang and Wang disappeared on September 19, 2021, a day before Huang was due to fly to the United Kingdom to start a master’s degree on gender violence and conflict at the University of Sussex. They stood trial in September 2023.

The International Women’s Media Foundation previously presented Huang with the Wallis Annenberg Justice for Women Journalists Award.

Supporters of Huang and Wang have created a GitHub webpage to post case updates and share their thoughts. China is routinely cited by monitoring groups as one of the countries where journalists are most imprisoned.

Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International’s China director, issued a statement condemning Huang’s conviction as an attack on women’s advocacy in the People’s Republic of China, which has long promoted the concept that “women hold half the sky.” , but whose institutions are still male-dominated.

“These convictions will extend their deeply unjust detention and have a further chilling effect on human rights and social advocacy in a country where activists face increasing state repression,” Brooks said in an emailed statement.

“In reality, they committed no real crime. Instead, the Chinese government has made excuses to view their work as a threat and attack them to educate themselves and others on social justice issues such as women’s dignity and workers’ rights,” said Brooks .

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