Sophia Huang Xueqin

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Chinese journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin has been held since September 2021 and went on trial in September 2023 for “inciting subversion of state power.” As of late 2023, she remained in custody and was awaiting a verdict in her trial.  

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.

On September 19, 2021, Huang and labor activist Wang Jianbing lost contact with friends right before they were scheduled to board a plane from 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, U.S. Congress-funded 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

On September 22, 2023, Huang and Wang were put on trial for “inciting subversion of state power” in Guangzhou. According to the indictment, published on X—previously known as Twitter—by the Free Huang XueQin & Wang JianBing site, 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 state subversion content, and organizing online courses that incite dissatisfaction with the country. 

As of late 2023, Huang is being held at Guangzhou City No.1 detention center, according to Huang’s friends who spoke to CPJ and the Free Huang XueQin & Wang JianBing website, which said Huang suffers from calcium deficiency and sudden weight loss. 

CPJ’s message to the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau in October 2023 did not receive any response.