The trial of Huang Qi, advocate for Sichuan survivors, postponed
If charged with “illegal possession of state secrets”, he could get up to three years in prison with few chances of a proper defence.
According to Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch, the definition of what constitutes state “secrets” is so broad that it can be applied to just about anything. Not even lawyers or judges can see much of the evidence or question it.
Huang helped parents of children killed under the rubble of schools destroyed by the devastating earthquake of 12 May last year. After that, parents protested because of shoddy school construction.
Mr Huang was arrested on 10 June after his website, www.tianwang.com, published demands for investigation and compensation by five parents who lost children under the Dongqi Middle School in the town of Hanwang.
The authorities have tried to stop all protest, trying to reassure the public that it would conduct a quick public inquiry. So far though, no investigation results have been released.
Huang, founder of the Tianwang Human Rights Centre and the aforementioned website critical of the Communist Party's restrictions on rights, was convicted in 2003 of “inciting subversion of state power” and released two years later.
In the meantime human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been released, Human Rights Watch reported. He had disappeared on 19 January.
Mr Gao, who had defended small property owners against the authorities, was arrested in August 2006 and September 2007 for writing an open letter to the US Congress denouncing China's human rights situation.