China: Whistle-blower journalist mulls appeal
|Publisher||Radio Free Asia|
|Publication Date||9 January 2012|
|Cite as||Radio Free Asia, China: Whistle-blower journalist mulls appeal, 9 January 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f3a25131a.html [accessed 25 April 2014]|
The wife of the jailed Chinese reporter highlights their plight.
A passenger reads a newspaper at a Beijing airport, July 2, 2010. Imaginechina
A noted Chinese investigative journalist jailed after he exposed corruption is considering appealing his sentence, his wife said Monday.
"I paid a visit to him in prison on Dec. 19, and he didn't look good. He wants to appeal, but he didn't talk much on this," Jiao Xia, the wife of Qi Chonghuai, told RFA in an interview. "He wants to talk to his lawyer."
Qi, 46, based in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong, was two weeks away from being released in June last year when the same court that convicted him in 2008 retried him on the same charges and sentenced him to eight more years in jail.
Human rights groups had slammed the Chinese authorities over the move, saying the second conviction of the long-time journalist known for his exposés of official corruption and social injustice was a blatant violation of Chinese law.
Speaking from her home in Jinan, the regional capital of Shandong province, Jiao said her husband felt dejected as he was unable to fend for their two children.
"He feels guilty for the children. And since he won't be released soon, thus he is thinking about divorcing me, so I would not be bothered by him," said Jiao, who has been juggling two jobs to keep her family going.
"On Nov. 4, when visiting him in the prison, I was overwhelmed by a sudden dizziness and fell on the floor, injuring my face," she said.
"It was then that Qi said to me that 'You have suffered too much for me, and I cannot be of any help. The burden is so heavy. I really feel guilty for you.'"
"Then he asked me if he could divorce me."
"I said, 'No.'"
Jiao said she is determined to overcome the current difficulties.
"I had been working two jobs since my husband was jailed in 2007 and believed that Qi would be home after four years," she said.
"But last June when I heard he would spend another eight years behind bars, I collapsed and have never come back on my feet completely."
"We have two children and I wish people would pay attention to my husband's case," she said.
Qi was detained in 2007 after posting on several online forums information on the Tengzhou municipal government's alleged misuse of tax money to construct a luxurious government office.
He was convicted of "extortion and blackmail" and served his sentence in Zaozhuang Prison in Tengzhou.
According to informed sources, Qi was visited by the mayor of Tengzhou and two high-level officials about a month before his scheduled release on June 25, 2011, Human Rights in China (HRIC), a rights group, had said.
"The officials asked him about his plans for after his release; Qi replied that he would fight corruption to the end," it said.
"Shortly after that visit, the prosecution reactivated Qi's case based on alleged new evidence on the original 'extortion and blackmail' charge, and on a new and separate accusation that Qi appropriated advertising money belonging to the China Security Produce News, where he worked as a reporter and deputy director."
On June 9 last year, Qi was convicted again of "extortion and blackmail" and on a new charge of embezzlement. The court sentenced Qi to 12 years.
One of Qi's lawyers had charged that that the new prosecution had taken merely 24 hours from indictment to trial, and that none of the case documents that he was allowed to review in court could constitute evidence, HRIC said.
In a separate development, police in southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan blocked jailed writer Chen Wei's wife from visiting him.
"Upon Chen Wei's sentencing, the court promised me a last visit to my husband in the detention center before he would be transferred to prison," said Wang Xiaoyan, Chen's wife, in Suining city on Monday.
"However, when I called the detention center this morning, they said Chen Wei had already been transferred to prison," the disappointed Wang said.
"Chen's parents are very elderly. How can they go to a faraway city to visit him? We originally planned to see him in Suining," she added.
Last month, Chen was sentenced to nine years in jail for "inciting subversion of state power" after he published several essays online calling for freedom of speech and reform of China's one-party system.
Chen had insisted that he was expressing his opinion as allowed under Chinese law.
Reported by Fang Yuan from Hong Kong for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated by Ping Chen. Written in English by Ping Chen and Parameswaran Ponnudurai.