Chinese journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin disappeared on September 19, one day before she was scheduled to board a plane to the United Kingdom to study at the University of Sussex. On September 27, the U.S.-Congress funded Radio Free Asia reported that Huang was being held in extrajudicial detention by government agents.
Huang is a freelance journalist who has covered social issues on her personal blog since 2018. She previously worked as an investigative reporter for Chinese-language outlets Xinquaibao and Southern Metropolis Weekly, according to news reports.
On September 19, Huang and labor activist Wang Jianbin lost contact with friends right before they were scheduled to leave the southern city of Guangzhou for Shenzhen, according to news reports, which said that Huang planned to fly from Hong Kong to London on September 20 to study for a master’s degree at the University of Sussex. The friends feared that they may have been detained by police.
On September 27, Radio Free Asia reported, quoting an unnamed source, that both had been detained for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power” and were being held under “residential surveillance at a designated location,” a form of extrajudicial detention.
On November 5, a website founded by Huang and Wang’s friends, Free Huang XueQin & Wang JianBing reported that Wang’s family had received an arrest notice from the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau, accusing Wang of inciting subversion of state power. According to the report, Huang’s family also received a similar notice in late October.
Previously, in October 2019, police in Guangzhou detained Huang and accused her of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to news reports and a friend of the journalist who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal from authorities. Huang was later released in January 2020, according to news reports.
As of September 2021, CPJ could not determine Huang’s whereabouts or health status.
In September 2021, CPJ contacted the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau through a form on its website, but did not receive any response.