China: Police detain website founder in raid

The Chinese authorities must immediately release the founder of a human rights website who has been detained following a police raid on his home, said Amnesty International.

Huang Qi, founder of the website 64 Tianwang, was taken away by 11 police officers in Chengdu, in south west China, at around 3pm on Thursday. Police also seized computers, mobile phones and USB sticks. 

The detention is the latest in a series of raids in the past week against individuals that write for 64 Tianwang. All have been accused of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”.

“There now appears to be a concerted campaign of intimidation by the Chinese authorities against those associated with the 64 Tianwang website. Once again the authorities have shown their intent to stifle debate on human rights within China,” said William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International.

“These are spurious charges against Huang Qi and others detained solely for their work for 64 Tianwang. They must be immediately released.”

64 Tianwang – which is run by hundreds of volunteers – covers human rights news for a mainland Chinese audience.

Three citizen journalists that write for the website remain in detention after they were taken away by police last weekend. Liu Xuehong, Xing Jian and Wang Jing had been reporting on a security crackdown in Beijing during the National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliamentary session which closed on Thursday.