Two activists in southern China are expected to face trial soon, with police handing their cases over to prosecutors for investigation. Women’s rights campaigner and freelance journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin and labour activist Wang Jianbing have been detained in Guangzhou since September, unable to meet their lawyers or families, according to friends close to the activists. Guangzhou police barred Huang from leaving China six months ago when she tried to go to London via Hong Kong for a master’s programme at the University of Sussex on a Chevening scholarship. Wang, a close friend who was travelling with Huang to Shenzhen, was also taken in by the police. Lawyers were denied access to them over national security concerns. An arrest notice previously sent to the detainees’ families said both were charged with trying to subvert state power but it is not known if the charge has been changed Free Xueqin&Jianbing, a Twitter account set up by friends to advocate for the activists’ release, said their cases had been passed to prosecutors who would prepare for trials. “We have learned that Huang and Wang are now back at the Guangzhou No 1 Detention Centre … after they were held in solitary confinement in other detention facilities for several months for individual interrogation,” the friends said on the account on Friday. “Now the investigation [by police] is completed, we expect the lawyers will finally be able to meet with them and study their cases.” Robert Cheng, a friend of both activists who now lives abroad, said the lawyers did not know what had prompted the arrests because they have not been able to meet their clients or look at their files. The lawyers were warned not to discuss the cases with the media. Chinese #MeToo activist Sophia Huang Xueqin ‘freed from detention’ Huang, 33, is a well-known #MeToo activist in China and an award-winning freelance journalist. Wang, 38, has worked in rural education and campaigns for the welfare of workers with occupational diseases. Before their arrest, they organised gatherings at Wang’s flat in Guangzhou offering support for young people, victims of industrial accidents, and the LGBT community. Cheng said police had summoned about 70 people for questioning since September, asking them to give information about the two activists’ “subversive” activities and how they had used the gatherings to “attack state power”. He claimed that those questioned were forced to sign statements against the activists. “I feel angry and sad about this because this is not true,” Cheng said. “I hope they will have a fair trial even though their arrests are unjust.” Huang visited Hong Kong in the summer of 2019 and was planning to study law at the University of Hong Kong the following academic year. She posted observations online about attending anti-government rallies in the city . She returned to Guangzhou in August that year to finalise her visa and was detained for several months from October. Last June, Huang won an award from the Society of Publishers in Asia for her reporting on Li Qiaochu, who was detained in eastern Shandong province in February after speaking out for her partner and dissident lawyer Xu Zhiyong.