January 17, 2020 / 11:09 AM / a month ago

China frees #MeToo activist held for three months - lawyers

BEIJING (Reuters) - China freed a prominent figure in its #MeToo movement on Friday after she was detained three months ago in the southern city of Guangzhou, her lawyers told Reuters.

Freelance journalist and activist Sophia Huang Xueqin was held on Oct. 17 on suspicion of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” New York-based Human Rights Watch said at the time, referring to a charge often used to detain activists.

Before her detention, she had most recently been reporting on pro-democracy protests in nearby Hong Kong that began as opposition to a now-withdrawn bill to allow extraditions to China but widened to demands for greater democracy.

Huang could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday, and her lawyers declined to say if she faced further charges. The lawyers sought anonymity, given the sensitivity of the matter.

Police in Guangzhou did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

Huang reported on China’s nascent #MeToo movement in 2018 and had shared her own experience of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Before being detained, Huang had been reporting for Matters, a media outlet based in Hong Kong, on the protests in the Chinese-controlled financial hub.

Reporting by Huizhong Wu; Editing by Tony Munroe and Clarence Fernandez

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