China’s first ‘cyber-dissident’ given 12-year jail term

China’s first “cyber-dissident” Huang Qi, whose website reported on sensitive topics including human rights, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for leaking state secrets on July 29, 2019, a court said. (AFP)
Updated 29 July 2019

China’s first ‘cyber-dissident’ given 12-year jail term

  • Huang Qi ran a website called “64 Tianwang,” named after the bloody June 4, 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protesters
  • His sentence is one of the harshest meted out to a dissident since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012

BEIJING: China’s first “cyber-dissident,” whose website reported on sensitive topics including human rights, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday for leaking state secrets, a court said.
Huang Qi ran a website called “64 Tianwang” — named after the bloody June 4, 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protesters.
His sentence is one of the harshest meted out to a dissident since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, according to court records.
Huang was guilty of “leaking national state secrets and providing state secrets to foreign entities,” the statement by the Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court said, adding that Huang will be deprived of political rights for four years.
His website, which reported on local corruption, human rights violations, and other topics rarely seen in ordinary Chinese media, is blocked on the mainland.
The website was awarded a Reporters Without Borders prize in November 2016. A few weeks later, Huang was detained in his hometown of Chengdu, according to Amnesty International.
Huang’s work has repeatedly drawn the ire of Chinese authorities.
In 2009, he was sentenced to three years in prison after campaigning for parents of children killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which left nearly 87,000 people dead or missing and authorities facing huge public anger over shoddy building construction.
Five years later Huang and at least three citizen journalists who contribute to 64 Tianwang were detained by police after the site reported on a woman who set herself on fire in Tiananmen Square.


Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

Updated 12 November 2019

Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

  • Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at FT
  • Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain

LONDON: Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf will become the first woman to edit the Financial Times in its 131-year history after Lionel Barber, Britain’s most senior financial journalist, said he would step down.
Barber said on Tuesday he would leave in January after 14 years as editor and 34 years at the Nikkei-owned newspaper, which had one million paying readers in 2019, with digital subscribers accounting for more than 75% of total circulation.
Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at the salmon-pink FT and in recent years has sought to increase diversity in the newsroom and attract more female readers, while also becoming the publication’s first Arab editor.
“It’s a great honor to be appointed editor of the FT, the greatest news organization in the world.
“I look forward to building on Lionel Barber’s extraordinary achievements,” said Khalaf, whose earlier writing for Forbes magazine had earned her a small role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Her article described the leading character Jordan Belfort as sounding like a twisted version of Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.
Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain and one of few leading female editors in the world after Jill Abramson left the New York Times.
Before joining the FT in 1995, Khalaf worked at Forbes in New York and earned a master’s at Columbia University and graduated from Syracuse University.
Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Japan’s Nikkei which bought the FT from Pearson in 2015, said in a statement Khalaf was chosen for her sound judgment and integrity.
“We look forward to working closely with her to deepen our global media alliance.”
Nikkei’s Kita described Barber as a strategic thinker and true internationalist, adding he was very sad to see him leave.
“However, both of us agree it is time to open a new chapter,” he said.
During his time as editor, Barber engineered a successful push into online subscription that protected the title as others battled an unprecedented collapse in advertising revenue, as well as managing the move to a new owner.