Chinese journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin
Chinese journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin in seen in this undated photo. She has been held incommunicado for almost 1,000 days over her reporting. (Photo: Courtesy of Free Huang XueQin & Wang JianBing campaign group)

CPJ calls for immediate release of Chinese journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin

Taipei, June 14, 2024—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a Chinese court’s decision on Friday to sentence journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin to five years in prison on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.”

The Intermediate People’s Court in the southern city of Guangzhou handed down the sentence to Huang, who is well known for her reporting on sexual abuse in China, after nearly 1,000 days in detention, Huang’s friends told CPJ on condition of anonymity, citing fear of retaliation. They said that Huang planned to appeal the verdict.

“The harsh and unjust sentencing of journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin shows how insecure the Chinese government is when it comes to factual reporting,” said Iris Hsu, CPJ’s China representative. “Chinese authorities must drop all charges against Huang and release her immediately.”

Police detained Huang and her friend labor activist Wang Jianbing on September 19, 2021, while they were on their way to the Guangzhou airport, according to news reports and the duo’s friends told CPJ.

Wang also received a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence on Friday for inciting subversion, those sources said.

At the time of their arrest, Huang was on her way to Shenzhen and on to Britain, where she was due to start a master’s degree, those sources said.

Huang and Wang have been held incommunicado since their arrest.

According to the indictment, published on X, formerly Twitter, by the pair’s supporters when the trial started on September 22, 2023, the prosecution accused Huang of publishing distorted and inflammatory articles to attack the Chinese government, publicly attacking and smearing Chinese authorities while attending a foreign virtual media conference, participating in courses that contain subversive content, and organizing online courses that incited dissatisfaction in the country. 

CPJ emailed the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau for comment but did not receive any reply.