Online activist and journalist Huang Qi went on trial in Mianyang, Sichuan, facing charges from November 2016 of leaking state secrets. No verdict has yet been reported concerning the last-minute trial. His early work on finding missing persons was lauded by the Chinese government, but later work published on the site 64tianwang (in Chinese) and his reporting on alleged government officials' wrongdoing have resulted in at least two previous detentions since 2009.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, along with 11 other organisations released a statement last November reporting that Huang Qi could die in police custody if he does not receive medical treatment for high blood pressure and late-stage kidney disease.
Several international instruments guarantee the right to freedom of expression. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that this right includes the freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. The Internet, with the opportunity it offers people to express themselves, is seen as an enabler of the exercise of this particular human right. Although these freedoms are guaranteed in global instruments and in national constitutions, in some countries freedom of expression is often curtailed through online censorship or filtering mechanisms, imposed by states, often for political reasons.