#MeToo activist sentenced to five years in prison

Chinese journalist and #Metoo activist Sophia Huang Xueqin was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” after she became a symbol of the country’s stalled feminist movement.

She was sentenced yesterday alongside labour activist Wang Jianbing, who was handed three years and six months, a group of their supporters said on X.

Huang wrote on social media about her experience of workplace sexual harassment as a young journalist at a Chinese news agency, in the wake of the global #MeToo movement.

With Wang, she was involved in running a regular gathering in the southern city of Guangzhou, a member of the supporters’ group said last year, before they were both detained in 2021.

The court said the meetings, which took place from November 2020, “incited participants’ dissatisfaction with Chinese state power under the pretext of discussing social issues”, according to the “Free Huang XueQin & Wang JianBing” group.

Their trial took place last year behind closed doors, with rights groups raising concerns over the pair’s health in detention.

Yesterday, supporters posted pictures they said showed barriers erected around Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, where the sentencing took place.

Huang was accused of “publishing distorted, provocative articles and speeches attacking the national government on social media”, and “gathering overseas organisers to participate in online training for ‘non-violent actions’”.

She had previously been held by authorities after returning from reporting on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests in 2019.

She was due to start studying in the United Kingdom when she was detained again in 2021. — AFP

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