Free #MeToo Activist, Journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin Who Wrote About #Hong KongProtests

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STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF SOPHIA HUANG XUEQIN, BY CONCERNED JOURNALISTS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, ARTISTS AND ACTIVISTS IN ASIA

We, the undersigned, journalists, photographers, artists and activists in Asia are deeply concerned by the news of the arbitrary detention of independent journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin  in Guangzhou, China where authorities accused her of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”
Through media reports, she was taken by authorities around October 17 and is still being held at Guangzhou Public Security Bureau’s Baiyun district detention centre, with police confiscating her passport to stop her from leaving China.
It is still precisely unclear why she has been detained, and queries from the press to the Guangzhou police and China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been left unanswered.
Previously, based on media reports, Huang revealed that her family was harassed on 11 June 2019 after she posted an article on the Hong Kong protests when she was visiting the University of Hong Kong (HKU). After she went back to Guangzhou on 11 August 2019, Huang was once being summoned by the police for 24 hours and got her passport confiscated.
Such a charge, “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, has been weaponised by China authorities for rounding up feminists, journalists, rights activists and lawyers, and can be punished by up to five years in jail. At least 47 journalists were imprisoned in China at the end of 2018, making it the second-largest jailer of journalists worldwide, after Turkey, according to Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) annual prison census.
We demand her immediate, unconditional and honourable release from detention. We totally refute the allegation that Sophia Huang Xueqin committed any crime for highlighting the coverage on Hong Kong protests and leading gender issues in China, like the job of any working journalist worldwide.    
We will continue to draw attention to Sophia Huang Xueqin’s detention on every available international forum until she is released from the detention centre.  

Media coverage:

Mimi Lau, 24 Oct 2019. Police detain Chinese #MeToo activist Sophia Huang Xueqin on public order charge – https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3034389/police-detain-chinese-metoo-activist-sophia-huang-xueqin-public 

Javier C. Hernández, 24 Oct 2019. China Holds #MeToo Activist Who Wrote About Hong Kong Protests – https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/world/asia/china-metoo-hong-kong-protests.html

Cindy, 24 Oct 2019. #METOO Activist Huang Xueqin Detained – https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2019/10/metoo-activist-huang-xueqin-detained/ 

Jane Li, 24 Oct 2019. A pioneer of the #MeToo movement in China was detained after she blogged about Hong Kong’s protests – https://qz.com/1734830/a-pioneer-of-the-metoo-movement-in-china-has-been-detained/ 

Wenxin Fan, 24 Oct 2019. China Detains Women’s Rights Activist Who Joined a Hong Kong Protest – https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-detains-womens-rights-activist-who-joined-a-hong-kong-protest-11571924678

Ben Westcott, Steven Jiang & Isaac Yee, 25 Oct 2019. Chinese #MeToo activist and journalist who joined Hong Kong protests detained, friends say – https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/25/asia/huang-xueqin-hong-kong-metoo-intl-hnk/index.html 

25 Oct 2019. Chinese journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin detained following coverage of Hong Kong protests – https://cpj.org/2019/10/chinese-journalist-sophia-huang-xueqin-detained-fo.php

Ng Yik-tung & Sing Man, 29 Oct 2019. Rights Groups Call For Release of Chinese Journalist Who Reported From Hong Kong – https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/hongkong-journalist-10292019140405.html 

Social coverage:

FreeChineseFeminists (@FeministChina) – Huang Xueqin 黄雪琴,independent journalist and promoter of #MeToo in China was arrested one week ago and is currently in criminal detention in Guangzhou on charge of “pick a quarrel and make trouble”. Previously Huang got severe threats from the police due to her online writing. Thread: https://twitter.com/FeministChina/status/1187278038565838848 

Free Xueqin (@FreeXueqin) - Supporters of independent journalist and leading #MeToo activist Sophia Huang Xueqin, detained by Chinese authorities on Oct. 17 – https://twitter.com/FreeXueqin

Free #HuangXueqin Posters: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/14JevgfFzhsu7agEmYRJzVtHYiinZrYXK

Huang Xueqin’s work:

Simon Denyer & Amber Ziye Wang, 9 Jan 2018. Chinese women reveal sexual harassment, but #MeToo movement struggles for air – https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/chinese-women-reveal-sexual-harassment-but-metoo-movement-struggles-for-air/2018/01/08/ac591c26-cc0d-4d5a-b2ca-d14a7f763fe0_story.html 

Catherine Lai, 5 Dec 2017. No #MeToo in China? Female journalists face sexual harassment, but remain silent – https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/12/05/no-metoo-china-female-journalists-face-sexual-harassment-remain-silent/ 

Thomas Yau, 8 Dec 2019: #MeToo in China: a journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin speaks out against sexual harassment – https://www.scmp.com/video/china/2123564/metoo-china-journalist-sophia-huang-xueqin-speaks-out-against-sexual-harassment