Chinese School-Collapse Critic Busted as Spy

Activist detained after trying to help bereaved parents
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2008 5:28 AM CDT
Chinese School-Collapse Critic Busted as Spy
Rubble of a school which collapsed during the May 12 earthquake is seen among a banner reading "Return justice to the children" in Luo Shui of Shifang, southwest China's Sichuan province.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

(Newser) – An activist who tried to help bereaved Sichuan parents get answers about why so many schools collapsed in May's earthquake has been arrested, the New York Times reports. Huang Qi was taken away by plainclothes police after posting information about the parents on his website. He has been accused of possessing state secrets and could face years in jail.

Some 7,000 schoolrooms collapsed in the earthquake and many parents believe shoddy construction permitted by corrupt officials was to blame. Officials clamped down on parent protests that erupted in the rare period of openness after the quake. Huang had praised the new openness. "He actually thought things were heading in the right direction,” said a human rights worker pressing for Huang's release. “That’s one of the tragedies of his detention." (Read more China stories.)

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