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Imprisoned Journalist Ordered to Serve Eight More Years

July 28, 2011

On July 25, 2011, a court in Shandong rejected the appeal by Qi Chonghuai (齐崇怀, also 齐崇淮), an imprisoned journalist who already completed a four-year term, and upheld a sentence requiring Qi to serve another eight years. Qi is a long-time journalist known for his exposés of official corruption and social injustice. Among the publications Qi had worked or written for are Fazhi Zaobao (法制早报), Renmin Gong’an Bao Shandong Zhoukan (人民公安报山东周刊), and China Security Produce News (中国安全生产报).

Qi was detained in 2007 after posting on several online forums, including Xinhuanet, information on the Tengzhou municipal government’s misuse of tax money to construct a luxurious government office. He was convicted of extortion and blackmail (敲诈勒索罪) and served his sentence in Zaozhuang Prison, Tengzhou, Shandong Province.

According to informed sources, Qi was visited by the mayor of Tengzhou and two high level officials about a month before Qi’s scheduled release on June 25, 2011. The officials asked him about his plans for after his release; Qi replied that he would fight corruption to the end.

Shortly after that visit, the prosecution reactivated Qi’s case based on alleged new evidence on the original “extortion and blackmail” charge, and on a new and separate accusation that Qi appropriated advertising money belonging to the China Security Produce News, where he worked as reporter and deputy director. On June 9, Qi was convicted again of extortion and blackmail and of a new charge of embezzlement (职务侵占). The court sentenced Qi to 12 years.

One of Qi’s lawyers said that the new prosecution had taken merely 24 hours from indictment to trial, and that none of the case documents that he was allowed to review in court could constitute evidence. Qi’s wife Jiao Xia (焦霞) said the authorities were simply afraid of letting Qi out. She said Qi will continue to fight the ruling.

Jiao added, “We have already waited for four years, how can we endure eight more? … When I think of how our child has suffered because of this, I feel as if I have been eviscerated.”

For more information on Qi Chonghuai, see: