Young Chinese journalist-activist freed from detention

Chinese journalist-activist Sophia Huang Xueqin. Image: Thomas Yau

DHARAMSALA, 18 Jan: Renowned Chinese journalist-activist has been released by the Chinese authorities after nearly three months in detention.

Sophia Huang Xueqin was released on Friday, the SCMP reported citing her lawyers and sources in the known.

Following her release, she is said to be in good health and spirit though she is under heavy surveillance with her passport, computer and mobile phone still in the possession of the police, the report added quoting a source close to her.

The 32-year-old in a message she sent to friends after her release, has said that “it would not be convenient for her to meet with them now,” the report added.

Huang topped One Free Press Coalition’s the December 2019 list highlighting the 10 “most urgent” cases of threats to press freedom across the world.

She was detained in n October 2019 from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a wage charge commonly used by Beijing to silence journalists, activists and lawyers which carries several years of jail time.

With at least 48 journalists in prison, China is the world’s leading jailer of journalists in 2019, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’(CPJ) 2019 annual prison census.

The young activist and journalist rose to prominence for championing the Chinese #MeToo movement after she went public with her experience of workplace harassment in 2017.

A survey she conducted in 2018 concluded that more than 83% of female journalists in China had experienced sexual harassment on the job, most on multiple occasions.

In the months leading to her arrest, Huang had published two essays online detailing her experience participating in the mass pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The SCMP noted that China has “imposed strict controls on any public discussions and reporting of the continuing unrest in the city” and that “Huang was among a number of mainland activists who have got into trouble for sympathising with or supporting” the ongoing Hong Kong protests that started in June 2019.

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