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China urged to immediately free sick activist

Huang Qi

Beijing, Nov 5 (UITV/IANS) -  A group of 14 non-profits on Monday called on Beijing for the immediate and unconditional release of a Chinese reporter and activist, whose health has severely deteriorated in detention.

Huang Qi, who worked for human rights organization 64 Tianwang, was detained by the authorities on November 28, 2016, reports Efe news.

"The Chinese government must immediately and unconditionally release Huang, who has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression, and end its policy of denying prompt medical treatment to prisoners of conscience, which is a form of torture," the non-profits, including Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Huang, who had created a website - first in the country - to document cases of forced disappearances and human trafficking in China, was charged with leaking state secrets.

He has been suffering from a chronic kidney disease, hydrocephalus and other illnesses including heart problems, and requires daily medical attention.

According to his lawyer Liu Zhengqing, who visited him on October 23, the situation poses a direct risk to his life.

The non-profits feared Huang could meet the same fate as Liu Xiaobo, Cao Shunli and Yang Tongyan, who in recent years died in prison after they were denied adequate medical attention.

The statement calling for Huang's release comes a day ahead of China's 3rd Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council, and hoped that member states would document these cases and call on the Chinese government to end such practices.

Huang had won several awards for his journalistic work including the 2004 Cyber-Freedom Prize from Reporters Without Borders.