League of Social Democrats (LSD) members marched to the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan on Wednesday, calling for the release of Chinese cyber-activist Huang Qi. The event was led by ex-lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, LSD Chairman Avery Ng, Vice-chairman Raphael Wong and 12 other supporters.

Huang Qi is the founder of 64 Tianwang – a website that documents human rights violations in China and is blocked on the mainland. The 54-year-old was detained for the third time in November 2016, after police raided his apartment in Chengdu. His trial began on Wednesday in Sichuan.

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

The group began their march at the Western District Police Station. At the end point, Ng plastered a photo of Huang and a sign on the front of the China Liaison Office demanding his “immediate” release.

Wong told HKFP: “We are urging the Chinese government to release Huang Qi, who is in mainland China the founder of 64 Tianwang. We request that the Chinese political party quickly release Huang Qi.”

Ex-lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Huang is accused on “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities” – a charge commonly used to silence dissidents.

64 Tianwang was awarded the Reporters Without Borders-TV5 Monde Press Freedom Prize in November 2016.

See also: HKFP interview with Huang Qi

His mother told US-backed Radio Free Asia in April that Huang had severe kidney failure and lost 10kg in weight since his arrest. She added that because of the lack of adequate medical care, she fears that he may die in the detention centre.

In a speech, Leung said that Huang was once praised by the Chinese Public Security Bureau because his website helped lost family members find each other. But later on, Huang began to include information about the heavily censored 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, making him a target for Chinese authorities.

Leung told HKFP: “We are afraid he might follow the path of Mr Liu Xiaobo.”

Liu was a Chinese poet who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. He was jailed by Chinese authorities after he penned Charter ’08 – a manifesto urging democratic reform – and died in custody last July after battling liver cancer. His wife, Liu Xia, remains under de facto house arrest.

A bronze statue of Liu was erected in Hong Kong’s Times Square by the League of Social Democrats and the Hong Kong Alliance and was removed on Tuesday, after the shopping mall threatened organisers with legal action.

Avery Ng plasters a picture of Huang Qi on the front of the China Liaison Office. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Leung told HKFP: “It is very sad to witness a person so dedicated to the freedom of express and free press… face his death in prison.”

Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.