Crime & Justice

Chinese rights lawyer reunites with family after 5 years in jail

Beijing, Apr 28 (efe-epa).- Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang reunited with his wife and son Tuesday after spending nearly five years behind bars.

He was imprisoned for “subversion of state power,” following a government crackdown on Jul. 9, 2015 against law firms specializing in human rights cases, which led to the detention of lawyers and activists.

In one of the videos shared by people close to Wang, his spouse Li Wenzu can be seen waiting for him with their son Quanquan at their apartment on Monday night (GMT hours +8) as he arrives accompanied by security personnel.

Li- whose fight for Wang’s freedom made her one of the most prominent activists of the country – broke down in the arms of her husband. She had last met him on Jan.16, in Linyi prison in eastern China.

Since his release from prison on Apr.5, Wang was kept under police vigilance at his former home in the eastern city of Jinan, while his family remained at his current residence in Beijing.

The reason given by the authorities initially to prevent his return to his family was that he would be kept in quarantine for two weeks to make sure he was not infected with the novel coronavirus, but he was not allowed to leave Jinan even after the 14 day period.

However, over the weekend, Li had to be taken to hospital after she experienced severe abdominal pain and Wang, upon receiving the news, tried to be with her but was intercepted on his way.

He had to wait till Monday – after his wife returned home – to reunite with Li and their seven-year-old son.

“It’s a big relief to see that Wang Quanzhang can finally reunite with his wife Li Wenzu and their son Quan Quan. It’s definitely a positive result of the perseverance of his wife and the continued international pressure on his case,” Leo Lan of China Human Rights Defenders told EFE.

In December 2018, a Chinese court sentenced Wang to four years and six months in prison for subversion of state power, a charge often used by the Chinese government against activists and dissidents.

On Jun. 28, 2019, Li was able to visit her husband in prison after nearly four years of his arrest.

The Chinese authorities launched a widespread crackdown on Jul. 9,2015, that rights groups say was a coordinated campaign to thwart their movement. The campaign came to be known as the “709 Crackdown” because of the date of the event.

Prominent lawyer Yu Wensheng along with other lawyers and activists continue to be in prison. EFE-EPA


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