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Chinese Activists Who Gave #MeToo Victims a Voice Are Found Guilty

WorldChinese Activists Who Gave #MeToo Victims a Voice Are Found Guilty

A court in southern China on Friday found a prominent feminist journalist guilty of endangering national security and sentenced her to five years in prison, Beijing’s latest blow to civil society. A labor activist convicted of the same charge got a sentence of three years and six months.

The activities that prompted the arrest and conviction of the two, Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing, involved organizing discussions, providing support to other activists and receiving overseas training. The subversion charges and the sentences, handed down by the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, were confirmed by Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The legal action against Ms. Huang and Mr. Wang, which experts said was harsh even by China’s standards, signals the shrinking space for independent discussion of social issues.

“We are seeing an almost zero-tolerance approach to even the mildest forms of civil society activism in China,” said Thomas Kellogg, the executive director of the Georgetown Center for Asian Law. “This case is an example of that.”

A former independent journalist, Ms. Huang, 35, became a prominent voice in China’s #MeToo movement who helped women report cases of sexual harassment. Later, she traveled to Hong Kong and wrote essays about antigovernment protests there. Mr. Wang, 40, was a longtime activist on behalf of workers and people with disabilities. He also helped #MeToo victims to speak out.

Ms. Huang and Mr. Wang were arrested in 2021 and endured an unusually long pretrial detention of two years. The trial last September lasted a day.

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