China: Conscience conquers all: wife of detained rights lawyer Li Heping says her respect has only grown deeper despite pain of separation

July 30, 2016

WANG QIAOLING is the wife of rights lawyer Li Heping, who was arrested a year ago in the so-called ‘709 crackdown’ on hundreds of human rights advocates. For the first six months she had no official word of his fate. Wang tells MIMI LAU how her faith comforted her family and how it has given her a deeper appreciation of Li’s quest for justice.

How did you make it through the past year?

Like anyone facing a traumatic event, I have walked from the initial confusion to facing the challenge upfront. After learning what really happened, I chose to face it head on rather than complain. My faith has lifted me through this year. Whether you face every day with tears or a smile, life must go on. I have been able to see God’s plan in the midst of it all and we shall not be defeated by circumstances.

I lived through the past year by seeking and relying on God alone, especially when I was given notice of the arrest six months after he went missing. My heart began to calm down and I told myself that not only must I stay positive, I would have to mobilise other lawyers’ wives to stay positive, too.

What are conditions like for you and your children?

My son is now 16 and has just completed Year 10. He was unable to join an international exchange programme because he was banned from leaving the country, like me. The same goes for my daughter who is only 61/2 – she was banned from applying for a passport and is prohibited from attending school. But I trust that God will prepare a way out for us amid our difficulties, and that we will overcome the challenge.

How do you plan to seek your husband’s release?

As a tiny human who has come up against the state, I can tell you that I have no means to get my husband out. Absolutely none. I studied law at university, and I know I can defend the basic rights of my husband and my family according to the law.


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