On October 20, 2011, Huang Jinqiu was released from Pukou Prison in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, after serving eight years of his 12-year sentence. Huang postponed announcement of his release until December 13, 2011, his scheduled release date, after threats to his family. He has been living with his parents in Linyi County, Shandong Province.

According to Human Rights in China, Huang has said that he “will continue to push for social progress in China with compassion and that he believes that China will progress. Huang is grateful to everyone who has shown concern for his case, and particularly to those who have shown their love and provided help to him and his family during his imprisonment.”

Case History

Born in 1974 in Shangdong Province, Huang Jinqiu is an Internet essayist, writer and journalist. A graduate of Beijing’s respected Lu Xun Literature Institute and the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, his talents have been well-recognized beginning at an early age. Since age 18, Huang has worked as a journalist and editor of several newspapers and magazines, including YangCheng WanBao, a famous daily newspaper in Guangdong. His first book was published at age 20.

After winning a scholarship to study journalism, Huang relocated to Malaysia in 2000 to attend the Central Academy of Art. While abroad, he wrote under the pen name Qing Shuijun (“Mr. Clear Water”) for dissident Chinese-language news web site, Boxun, which operates out of the United States. His essays and posts have made him well known in the Chinese Internet community and have resulted in the publication of two volumes: the first containing non-political material under his real name, and the second containing political material, printed under his pen name for security reasons.

Huang Jinqiu’s essays on the Internet attracted the attention of the Chinese government in early 2001. Authorities reportedly made visits to his parents, but Huang’s submissions to the overseas Chinese language web site Boxun continued regularly throughout his time in Malaysia. In January 2003, he announced on the web site his intention to found the China Patriot Democracy Party (CPDP). Although the CPDP never materialized, secret police began following him when he returned to China in August 2003. According to articles Huang was able to post on Boxun during this time, he was followed starting August 15 in Yunnan Province, and later in Sichuan and in Shanghai. In early September, Huang traveled to Shangdong Province to visit his parents; his last article, intuitively titled “Me and My Public Security Friends,” was published on September 10. He was arrested three days later in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province.

News of his arrest broke in December 2003 on the Boxun web site. Chinese authorities later notified Huang’s parents in January 2004 and officially acknowledged his arrest and detention. Boxun accuses the Chinese government of “kidnapping,” referring to Huang’s five-month disappearance and the government’s attempt to keep it quiet. At the time of these events, news did not make it outside of Chinese-language media.

Huang experienced further delay when his trial began on June 22, 2004 (nearly a year after his original arrest and detention), at the Changzhou Intermediate People’s Court. The court was reportedly unable to reach an initial verdict because of a lack of evidence. However, after the case was referred back to the prosecution, further evidence eventually led to his conviction on September 27, 2004.

Huang Jinqiu was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and four years’ deprivation of political rights for “organizing, planning and carrying out subversive activities” and for writing “reactionary” articles on the Internet as an alleged member of CPDP’s preparatory committee.

Reports received in February 2005 indicated that Huang was transferred from Changzhou Detention Center in Jiangsu Province to Pukou Prison near Nanjing City, where he was a victim of routine ill treatment. Sources suggest the abuse to be so severe that Huang was at risk of a mental breakdown. In addition, he was denied books and was held with criminals who were encouraged by prison authorities to mistreat him.

Huang’s ill treatment accompanied his own efforts to renew an appeal of his sentence after his first appeal was rejected without a hearing. In March 2005, the Shanghai Department of Justice suspended the license of his lawyer, Guo Guoting, for speaking against the Communist Party. Sources fear the prison administration may have been trying to intimidate Huang into dropping any further legal proceedings to appeal his 12-year prison term.

In 2007, Huang’s sentence was reduced by one year and 10 months, and by another year and 11 months in November 2009. He is due to be released on December 12, 2011.

In late September and early October 2008, Huang Jinqiu’s father sent word of improvements in Huang’s living conditions, although he continued to suffer from joint disease, for which he was often denied treatment. Huang was now allowed to edit the prison’s newsletter, read books and newspapers, listen to the radio, and make one phone call to his family each month. He was also able to receive letters, though all were screened.