Amidst growing concerns for civil society in China, two prominent Chinese activists, Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing, are set to face a judge this Friday, following a two-year detention without trial. Their upcoming closed-door hearing marks another step in the Communist Party's intensified campaign against the vestiges of the nation's civil society.
An Uncertain Judicial Fate
Huang, a well-known independent journalist and a forerunner in the #MeToo movement in China, and Wang, a staunch advocate for labor rights, were arrested in September 2021 in the bustling southern city of Guangzhou.
As their trial approaches, the odds appear grim. With the party controlling the judicial system and boasting a conviction rate of over 99.9%, impartiality and justice remain in question. William Nee, from Chinese Human Rights Defenders, expresses significant skepticism. "We don’t know for sure what the substance of the Chinese government’s case against Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing is, but we can be certain that the process will be a complete sham,” he stated.
The conditions under which Huang and Wang have been held further underscore the concern for their well-being and the fairness of their upcoming trial. "Huang has not seen a lawyer of her choice in two years of detention. They were both reportedly subjected to prolonged interrogations and police frequently would wake Huang up in the middle of the night and start interrogations,” Nee revealed.
A Chilling Effect on Civil Society
The reverberations of their arrest were palpably felt throughout the activist community. Post their detention, an alarming number of their supporters, amounting to over 70 individuals, were summoned by police for interrogation.
Speaking to CNN, a close friend of the activists described the somber transformation of the once vibrant community: “It’s a community where everyone supports each other. But it’s been disbanded ever since the detention.
I have no sense of belonging anymore”. This sentiment was echoed by many, highlighting the effectiveness of the government's strategy to quash dissent. "The crackdown by authorities turned us into isolated atoms – it is difficult for everyone to band together again. The entire community is suppressed and silenced”.