Chinese dissident Huang Qi (黃琦), who campaigns for the parents of children killed in the Sichuan earthquake, has been arrested for “illegal possession of state secrets,” his wife said yesterday.
Qi was detained in the Sichuan Province capital of Chengdu on June 10 and has not been seen since.
“Yesterday afternoon, his mother went to the police station in Wuhou district [of Chengdu] and was given the arrest warrant,” his wife Zeng Li (曾麗) told reporters by telephone from the city in southwest China.
NO LEGAL COUNSEL
“His mother told them that since they had issued the arrest warrant, they should allow his lawyer to see Huang. But the police said that was not possible, that it would be another two months before the lawyer could ask to see him,” she said.
Huang’s lawyer, Mo Shaoping (莫少平), however, said the ruling was against the law and that he had the right to see his client, Zeng said.
Contacted by reporters, the Public Security Bureau in Wuhou said it did not know Huang’s current whereabouts.
Huang’s family said that the 44-year-old was arrested because he was supporting parents of children killed in the May 12 quake and had requested government figures.
The 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan on May 12 left nearly 87,000 people dead or missing, and millions more homeless, official reports said.
Many of the dead were children whose fate was linked to the poor construction of school buildings that collapsed while other structures withstood the earthquake.
Some parents alleged that local officials colluded with builders in a corrupt scheme to allow them to get way with cheap and shoddy work.
Several rights organizations have accused the Chinese government of arresting numerous opponents in the last few months to prevent them from disturbing the Olympic Games. Beijing has denied the charges.
Huang was jailed for subversion from 2000 to 2005 after he set up a Web site that independently investigated government corruption and advocated democracy.
The site had also called for the release of all those jailed for the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, which were crushed by the Chinese army.
Huang, who has received international awards for his efforts to publicize human rights violations in China, also listed missing persons on the site, mostly women and children kidnapped by human traffickers.
After being released, he resumed his rights work and opened the Tianwang Human Rights Centre, which claims to be the only non-government human rights organization in China.
Huang is on a list of seven Chinese political prisoners that the co-president of the Greens group in the European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, sent to French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday.
He wants Sarkozy to demand the prisoners’ release during his visit to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on August 8.
The French president himself made this proposal after Cohn-Bendit last week denounced Sarkozy in the European Parliament for his decision to go to the Chinese capital.
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