Chinese Rights Advocate Faces Charges
From The New York Times:
A human rights advocate who tried to help grieving parents push for an official investigation into a school that collapsed during last May’s earthquake was scheduled to be charged on Tuesday for “illegal possession of state secrets,” according to the man’s wife.
The advocate, Huang Qi, runs an informal advocacy organization called the Tianwang Human Rights Center in the city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, in southwest China. Mr. Huang was detained on June 10 after posting an article on his center’s Web site, 64tianwang.com, relating the demands of five parents whose children had died in the collapse of Dongqi Middle School in the town of Hanwang. The parents wanted compensation, an investigation into the school’s construction, and the responsible parties to be held accountable if fault was found.
Thousands of rooms in school buildings and dormitories collapsed across Sichuan and surrounding provinces during the May 12 earthquake. The government estimated shortly after the quake that as many as 10,000 children might have been killed in the school collapses. In many cases, school buildings collapsed while other buildings around them remained standing, raising questions about the possibility of shoddy construction.