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Five years in prison for Chinese journalist who promoted #MeToo

Photo: Free Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing via Associated Press Independent journalist Huang Xueqin

Associated Press in Beijing

Published yesterday at 1:52 p.m. Updated at 12:48 a.m.

  • Asia

Supporters say a Chinese journalist who championed women's rights as part of the country's nascent #MeToo movement has been sentenced to five years in prison for inciting to overthrow government authority. State, nearly three years after his arrest and that of an activist.

The verdict provided to the Associated Press indicates that Huang Xueqin will also be fined of 100,000 yuan (nearly $19,000), underscoring the ruling Communist Party's intolerance of any activism beyond its control in a system whose upper echelons are dominated by men.

China's #MeToo movement flourished briefly before being stifled by the government. China often silences activists by holding them incommunicado for long periods and then sentencing them to prison.

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

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The cases of Ms. Huang and Mr. Wang appear to have become closely linked as part of the latest sweeping crackdown on rights defenders, a trend that predates the #MeToo movement and includes earlier incidents, such as the 2015 detentions of women handing out pamphlets against sexual harassment on public transportation.

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

Friends say Ms Huang and Mr Wang disappeared on September 19, 2021, a day before Ms Huang was due to fly to the UK to start a master's program in gender-based violence and conflict at the University of Sussex. They were tried in September 2023.

The International Foundation for Women in Media had earlier awarded Ms. Huang its Wallis Annenberg Justice for Women Journalists Prize.< /p>

Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International's China director, issued a statement criticizing Ms. Huang's conviction as an attack on women's rights in the People's Republic of China, which has long championed the concept that “women hold up half the sky”, but whose institutions remain dominated by men.

“These sentences will prolong their deeply unjust detention and will 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 have committed no real crime. Instead, the Chinese government has fabricated excuses to frame their work as a threat and to target them for educating themselves and others on social justice issues such as women’s dignity and workers’ rights.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116