Qi Chonghuai

Qi.jpg

Profession: Journalist
Status: Imprisoned
Reason: Reporting on party corruption

LATEST UPDATES

  • June 9, 2011: At 3pm June 9 the Tengzhou city court sentenced Qi to 12 years of imprisonment on charges of 'extortion and blackmail' and 'fraud', despite the charge and points of prosecution being the same as led to his initial four year imprisonment, in violation of Chinese law.
  • May 9, 2011: Qi calls his wife and requests legal counsel.
  • May 4, 2011: Qi is interrogated again, now the second time, without being given access to legal counsel in violation of law.
  • April 27, 2011: Tengzhou Public Security Bureau interrogates Qi in prison, and makes it clear they do not intend to release him on June 25, but am instead to levy new charges against him to keep him locked up.

FILES

Right-click to download, left-click to open in new tab

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^ Quick info sheet on Qi Chonghuai

Case-file-thumbnail.JPG

^ Case file

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^Press release June 10, 2011

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^ Press release May 27, 2010

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^ Press release November 18, 2009

OTHER FILES

Some of Qi's writing in prison has been retained (in Chinese):

  • Several Urgent Appeals to the United Nations, as well as other documents are available per request.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Name: Qi Chonghuai (齐崇淮)
Gender: Male
Hometown: Jinan City, Shandong Province
DOB: February 7, 1965

Profession(s): Journalist, writer

Detailed information and legal analysis can be found in the case files or Urgent Appeals, please see the files section on your right.

HUMAN RIGHTS WORK & BACKGROUND


Qi Chonghuai (male), based out of Jinan city, Shandong province, is a long-time journalist, editor and essayist, who have covered corruption and cases of social injustice extensively. He has over the years been threatened, beaten, imprisoned and had multiple attempts on his life as a direct consequence of his work, and is currently imprisoned at Zaozhuang city prison in Shandong province.

Qi's writing have appeared in both domestic and foreign media, and Qi have written for a number of different mainstream news media, and was briefly the director of Fazhi Zaobao (Legal System Morning News) and later the Weekend edition of the Legal System Daily and and the Jizhe Guancha (Journalist Observer). Some other publications Qi have written for includes Shandong Zhoukan (Shandong Weekly), Renmin Gongan Bao (People's Public Security news) and Zhonggou Anquan Shengchan Bao (China Work Safety News)

Published stories by Qi have ranged from, including but not limited to, persecution of Falun Gong, family planning, unemployment and labor violations, and illegal demolitions, as well as on Communist Party and State media control and censorship.

On June 14, 2007 Xinhuanet (the website of China's official news agency Xinhua) published a story by Qi exposing gross corruption by the Tengzhou city (Shandong province) city government, in particular the use of tax money to construct a new luxurious government office. Earlier the same month (June 8) the Epoch Times published a story by Qi on a local party cadre beating up a woman for being late to work. On June 25, 11 days after the story on Xinhuanet, Qi was apprehended in his home in Jinan city by Police officers from Tengzhou city (Tengzhou is located about 210 kilometers from Jinan).

After Qi was detained and charged in 2007 Chinese news media such as 新京报 (New Beijing News) and Nanfang Dushi Bao (南方都市报) reported on it, and called Qi an 'anti-corruption journalist' and 'conscience of reporters'.

CURRENT SITUATION


Qi was set for release on June 25, 2011, after serving his four year prison sentence minus the roughly 12 months spent in the Tengzhou city detention center, when he was convicted by court on June 9 on the same charges that initially put him in prison, which added another eight (8) years of imprisonment for Qi.

On April 27, Tengzhou Police told Qi that they will seek to keep him in prison, charging him with 'Extortion and blackmail' (敲诈勒索罪) and 'Fraud' (职务侵占罪). On April 27, and again on May 4, Police interrogated Qi. On May 9 Qi called his wife and asked for legal counsel. 'Extortion and blackmail' is the same charge on which Qi was originally sentenced for. Police sent their case to the Procuratorate on May 27, who, incredibly, forwarded it to the Court without any analysis or investigation. According to Chinese law, a verdict is to be delivered within one (1) month of the Court receiving a case, meaning that the Procuratorate forwarded the case to ensure that a verdict could be delivered before his set release on June 25.

PARTICULARS REGARDING INITIAL CHARGE AND CONVICTION
Detained: 01.40, June 25, 2007
Place of detention: Detention Center of Tengzhou City (June 26, 2007 to August 8, 2008)
Reason: Initially accused of 'deception' for allegedly misrepresenting himself as a journalist, before being formally charged with 'extortion and blackmail'. Detention followed an article alleging corruption in the Tengzhou Communist Party, which was published in June 2007 on the Xinhuanet website.
Formal charges: 'Extortion and Blackmail', August 2, 2007
Case handed over for investigation: November 2, 2007 (Tengzhou People’s Procuratorate)
Court of trial/date of trial: Tengzhou City Court, May 13, 2008
Conviction: 4 years of imprisonment on grounds of 'Extortion and Blackmail'
Imprisonment: Tengzhou prison, Tengzhou city, Shandong province, on August 8, 2008 (has been moved, see section Latest updates)
Lawyer(s): Li Xiongbing, Li Chunfu

PARTICULARS REGARDING NEW CHARGE
Charge: 'Extortion and blackmail' (secondary charge: Fraud/embezzlement)
First interrogation: April 27, 2011
Formal charge levied: May 4, 2011
Case sent to Procuratorate: May 27, 2011
Case sent to Court: May 27, 2011 (to Tengzhou City Court (滕州法院))
Trial lawyers: Wang Quanzhang ( 王全章), Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原 )
Date and place of trial/verdict: June 9, 2011, Tengzhou City Court. Verdict issued at 3pm same day, 12 years of imprisonment after being found guilty on all charges.
Access to legal counsel: Yes and No. Qi was not, illegally, afford access to legal counsel for the
second interrogation, but the court have stated they accept his right to legal counsel for the
trial.

CHRONOLOGY LEADING UP TO CONVICTION
Qi was detained at his home in Jinan city by police from the Tengzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau on the night of the June 25, 2007. When Police arrived at Qi's home he refused to open the door, and the police had to break down the door. The Police confiscated his press card, computer, and other equipment. Neither Qi nor his family were issued a receipt for the seized items, in violation of law.

Police first told Qi that he was being detained on suspicion of 'deception' for allegedly misrepresenting himself as a journalist, but he was later formally charged with 'extortion and blackmail' on August 2, 2007. For the first two months of his detention Qi was held incommunicado, in violation of the law.

His family, in violation of the law, did not receive a notice of his detention.

Qi spent August 2 to November 2 (2007) in detention awaiting formal arrest pending investigation by the Tengzhou People’s Procuratorate. The case was later given back to the police for further investigation on February 2008, a tactic often used to prolong periods of detention.

Freelance photographer Ma Shiping (马士平) was arrested on June 16, 2007 in connection with photos published in Qi's article. He has since been sentenced to two years of imprisonment.

During the eleven months of his pre-trial detention Qi was repeatedly subjected to serious psychological and physical abuse. On one such incident on August 13, 2007, Tengzhou City Public Security Bureau deputy head Zhaofei Yu (赵飞宇) punched Qi unconscious while Qi was strapped to a steel table. Qi's lawyer Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵) told Reporters Without Borders that the Police told Qi that they could hit him as much as they like and could disguise his death to look like a suicide. The abuses did not end with the trial; they have instead increased.

Qi was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison on May 13, 2008 on charges of extortion and blackmail. The trial lasted 12 hours. Access to the trial was strictly controlled and no press were allowed to witness the proceedings. Qi related that during a recess several guards slammed his head on the floor. After the trial, before he was moved to prison, Qi was mistreated several times by having icy water thrown into his face. He was sent back to the Tengzhou City Public Security Bureau Detention Center to await being transferred to prison. Qi was beaten nearly daily by the detention center guards.

Qi spent a total of 408 days in the detention center before being moved to Tengzhou prison on August 8, 2008, the opening day of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games.

SITUATION IN PRISON


Until mounting pressure by several countries' diplomatic representations and international organizations led to his transfer from the Tengzhou to the Zaozhuang prison, Qi was the victim of severe persecution, including two attempts on his life. After his transfer, the almost daily beatings, prolonged enforced hard labour and attempts on his life ceased, and his situation improved greatly in terms of personal physical safety and health.

Until mid-June 2009 Qi was being held in Tengzhou City prison, a large prison facility primarily designed to hold maximum security criminals serving life-sentences or awaiting execution, and was forced to work in extremely harsh and dangerous conditions. He was also regularly assaulted and had several attempts made on his life whilst in this prison.

The prison did not notify Qi's wife or any other family member about Qi being relocated to Zaozhuang prison in violation of law. A visit to Tengzhou prison showed that the information about Qi had been removed from the information center, and no information was posted about him being relocated, for what reason, at what time or anything else.

Despite these improvements, it was until April 2010 that any family members could visit him, and his current legal counsel Wang Quanzhang have continued to be denied access, despite having received a 'power of attorney' (dated January 22, 2010) from Qi's wife.

On February 19, 2010 Qi’s lawyer travelled to Zaozhuang prison but was denied visitation rights to Qi. According to prison authorities this was due to the spring festival, which is not a legal reason to deny visitation.

On March 15, 2010 a second attempted visit by Qi’s lawyer was denied by Zaozhuang prison authorities, who also refuse to recognise the 'power of attorney' granted by Qi’s wife in violation of law.

Following a visit by his brother on April 21, 2010 we now know that Qi have been given lighter work duties (from manual labour in a coal mine to propaganda work).

Communication with other members of his family is also still severely limited. On February 13, 2010 for example, Qi called his wife on the day before spring festival eve, however the phone line was cut less than one minute into the conversation when Qi began speaking of further mistreatment against him in prison.

PHYSICAL ABUSE, BEATINGS AND ATTEMPTED MURDER

Qi's original assignment to the Tengzhou City prison seemed quite unusual in light of his four year prison term. The prison has more than 4800 inmates. Work at the prison mainly involves coal mining in a nearby mine. Qi regularly worked more than 10 hours a day in the coal mine, and was sometimes been forced to work for up to 20 hours in a day. In addition, the inmates have to walk the 18 miles to the mine every morning and then back in the evening. Through this forced labor, in combination with insufficient water and food, Qi developed a number of ailments. He has reported extreme pain in his left foot, both knees and his waist. His complaints were ignored.

Qi spent about 80 days in the beginning of his imprisonment manually transporting railway equipment, including carrying heavy rails. After his work days, Qi reported that his shoulders would bleed.

Beginning on January 1, 2009, Qi was assigned to push coal carts underground, up to 65 miles per day. Because of poor ventilation and the harshness of the working conditions, Qi lost consciousness on several occasions, and several of his fingers suffered from necrosis. Qi's applications to be relieved of his work duties were denied. Refusal to work resulted in Qi being denied water and food all together.

The following is a record of some of the physical abuse Qi suffered at the hands of inmates and prison guards whilst at Tengzhou prison.

On his first day in the prison Qi was viciously beaten by several other inmates, at the behest of the prison guards. Qi suffered a broken right rib during this beating. During Qi's first month in imprisonment, from August 8 to September 8, 2008, he was the victim of six such beatings. His time spent in detention before conviction was also marked by repeated beatings.

On April 30, 2009 a prison guard, Liu Huanyong (刘焕永), severely beat Qi in the process of confiscating several manuscripts he had been working on. Qi had written several hundred thousand words of reports on the deplorable and inhuman conditions of the prison. The title of some of the manuscripts are known: “Prisoners Survive Investigation,” “Anti-Corruption Journalist on Hunger Strike in Prison,” “Tragic Life of Tengzhou Prisoners.” Later Liu would try to have Qi killed. Some of these writings were smuggled out and can be found on the web (http://China-Action.org).

On May 3, 2009 Zhai Fengqiang (翟凤强), an inmate acting by command of prison guard Liu, threw Qi down a mineshaft. The fall left Qi unconscious and loosing blood. Luckily he was discovered by two inmates who dragged him out of the mine. If it had not been for these two men, Qi would have died. He was unconscious until May 6. The next day Liu forced Qi back to work. Qi tried to file charges against Zhai and Liu but all of his pleas have been ignored, in violation of law.

On June 16, 2009, after laboring for 10 hours in the coal mine, Qi was sent to solitary confinement until he was transferred to Zaozhuang prison.

ALL UPDATES


  • June 9, 2011: At 3pm June 9 the Tengzhou city court sentenced Qi to 12 years of imprisonment on charges of 'extortion and blackmail' and 'fraud', despite the charge and points of prosecution being the same as led to his initial four year imprisonment, in violation of Chinese law.
  • May 9, 2011: Qi calls his wife and requests legal counsel.
  • May 4, 2011: Qi is interrogated again, now the second time, without being given access to legal counsel in violation of law.
  • April 27, 2011: Tengzhou Public Security Bureau interrogates Qi in prison, and makes it clear they do not intend to release him on June 25, but am instead to levy new charges against him to keep him locked up.
  • May 27, 2010: A second Urgent Appleal to UN Special rapporteur on HRD's submitted (see files below);
  • April 23, 2010: On April 21 Qi's younger brother was allowed to see Qi in Zaozhuang prison. Qi is no longer in solitary confinement, and has been given lighter work duties (from manual labor to propaganda work). According to Qi's brother, this reversal in the prison's treatment of Qi is due to a combination of declining health and international pressure.
  • March 15, 2010: A second attempted visit by lawyer to Qi is denied in violation of the 'interim provisions for the lawyer visiting the prisoner in the prison' (律师会见监狱在押罪犯暂行规定).
  • April 23, 2010: On April 21 Qi's younger brother was allowed to see Qi in Zaozhuang prison. Qi is no longer in solitary confinement, and has been given lighter work duties (from manual labor to propaganda work). According to Qi's brother, this reversal in the prison's treatment of Qi is due to a combination of declining health and international pressure.
  • March 15, 2010: A second attempted visit by lawyer to Qi is denied, the "power of attorney" is denied, in violation of the Chinese Criminal procedure law. The repeated refusal of prison authorities for Qi to see his legal counsel violates the interim provisions for the lawyer visiting the prisoner in the prison (律师会见监狱在押罪犯暂行规定).
  • February 19, 2010: Lawyer denied visitation right to Qi, according to prison authorities due to the Spring festival.
  • February 13, 2010: Qi called his wife the day before spring festival, phone line was cut less than one minute into the conversation, and was cut when Qi started mentioning further mistreatment in prison. Told wife he is being kept in solitary confinement, spending all day and night in a very small cage.
  • January 22, 2010: After leaking his writings (see below), prison authorities now forbid all visitors to Qi, including those by his wife. Visits by wife and brother has earlier been refused as well.
  • January 22, 2010: Power of attorney granted by Qi's wife to assist Qi in seeking redress. A visit by a lawyer is expected within the next few weeks.

CHINESE URGENT ACTION WORKING GROUP
人 权 卫 士 紧 急 救 援 协 会

moc.liamhsuh|noitcA.anihC#moc.liamhsuh|noitcA.anihC
http://China-Action.org

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