Chinese #MeToo journalist, activist on trial after 2 years in detention
BEIJING — After two years in detention, a Chinese journalist active in the #MeToo movement will go on trial this week, along with a labor rights activist who was detained with her in 2021, one of their supporters said.
China often silences activists by holding them incommunicado for a long time and then sentencing them to prison. A pretrial hearing was held on Tuesday and a trial set for Friday in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, the supporter said, citing a family member. The supporter requested anonymity out of fear of government retaliation.
Huang Xueqin, an independent journalist, helped spark China’s first #MeToo case in 2018 when she helped a graduate student go public with accusations against her Ph.D. supervisor. The other activist, Wang Jianbing, is more known for his labor rights activity but also helped women report sexual harassment.
It’s not clear what got them into trouble with authorities. Both have been charged with inciting subversion of state power, their supporters have said.
China’s #MeToo movement flourished briefly until it was snuffed out by the government, which sees powerful social movements as a potential threat to stability and the Communist Party’s hold on power.
Friends say the two disappeared on Sept. 19, 2021, the day before Huang was scheduled to head to the United Kingdom to start a master’s degree program on gender violence and conflict at the University of Sussex.
Last year, the International Women’s Media Foundation gave Huang its Wallis Annenberg Justice for Women Journalists Award.
Supporters of Huang and Wang created a GitHub webpage two years ago to post case updates and share their thoughts. They expressed outrage last weekend that the trial had been delayed for so long.