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US calls for immediate release of women's rights activists held in China

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Washington, DC | June 19, 2024 4:41:22 AM IST
The United States condemned the unjust sentencing of independent journalist and women's rights activist Huang Xueqin (Sophia Huang) as well as labour rights activist Wang Jianbing and urged Beijing to release both activists immediately.

The sentences demonstrate China's "continued efforts to intimidate and silence civil society."

"We urge the PRC to immediately release Huang and Wang, as well as other individuals unjustly detained for exercising their fundamental freedoms," US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

China's government sentenced Huang to five years of imprisonment and Wang to three years and six months of imprisonment after a lengthy pre-trial detention and a secret trial closed to journalists or the public.

Further, the US State Department urged China to uphold its promises to respect human rights, including freedoms like expression and fair trials.

"We continue to call on the PRC to live up to its international commitments and to respect the human rights of all persons, including freedom of expression and fair trial guarantees," the statement said.

"We also urge the PRC to accept the many recommendations made this year during the PRC's Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record," the statement added.

Huang created a social media platform for victims to report sexual harassment during the peak of China's #MeToo movement. She shared surveys that stated that sexual harassment was a concern at universities and workplaces, Voice of America reported.

She was arrested in 2019 for joining the protest in Hong Kong.

According to Voice of America, Wang has been an advocate for workers' rights and for those with disabilities since 2014.

According to the online support group Free Huang Xueqin & Wang Jianbing, Haung plans to appeal the sentence. (ANI)

 
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