Pu Wenqing, the mother of jailed rights activist Huang Qi, has appealed to the authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan to allow her a last meeting with her son as she nears the end of her life.
“Lately I have been suffering from dizziness, headache, instability, and pain in my back and lungs,” Pu said in a recent video statement.
“[I want to meet with Huang Qi, but] it has been in vain; they are all passing the buck,” she said. “All of the people in the petitioning community have distanced themselves from me, and don’t basically have anything to do with me any more.”
“The people who have come to visit me, the ones who did care, have now been deprived of their freedom,” Pu said. “I would like to thank the authorities for sending people to take care of me during the past few days.”
Pu has had no news of Huang for more than a year, and could die from lung cancer and heart failure at any time, rights activist Wang Jing told RFA on Wednesday.
“Pu Wenqing is now in the advanced stages of lung cancer,” Wang said. “Breathing is very painful … she has taken painkillers, but she is still in pain.”
Wang said Pu last had contact with the outside world on Nov. 5, 2021.
“Pu Wenqing has always wanted to meet with Huang Qi, but this has never been allowed,” Wang said. “Bazhong Prison has made it very difficult for her, and she hasn’t been allowed a meeting with him yet.”
Retired Guizhou University professor Huang Chun said via WeChat that she was the one who spoke with Pu on Nov. 5, adding that Pu’s chief concern is that she will never see Huang again.
A court in the southwestern province of Sichuan handed down a 12-year jail term to Huang, a veteran rights activist and founder of the Tianwang rights website, on July 29, 2019.
Huang was sentenced by the Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court to 12 years’ imprisonment, after it found him guilty of “leaking state secrets overseas.”
Huang’s lawyers and Pu have said all along that the case against Huang was a miscarriage of justice, even allowing for the traditionally harsh treatment of dissidents in China.
Huang, 57, has been identified by Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as one of 10 citizen journalists in danger of dying in detention.
He has repeatedly denied the charges made against him and has refused to “confess.”
Huang’s Tianwang website had a strong track record of highlighting petitions and complaints against official wrongdoing, and injustices meted out to the most vulnerable in society, including forced evictees, parents of children who died in the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and other peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Until her illness progressed, Pu had been a vocal campaigner for Huang’s release on urgent medical grounds, and says the charges against him are politically motivated, with no evidence to back them up.
Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.