July 10, 2017
Relatives and friends of fourteen human rights lawyers jailed during a nationwide police operation targeting the legal profession since July 9, 2015 have marked the second anniversary of the crackdown with fasts and placards, although some still don’t know their loved ones’ fate.
Li Wenzu, wife of rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who has been detained incommunicado for 725 days, said her husband is being held in an unknown location with no access to visits from family or his lawyer.
“There has been no news whatsoever. When the lawyer tries to visit him, he is unable to do so,” Li said. “Nothing has leaked to the outside world from inside, in spite of people following his case and calling for [his release].”
“All I have is a single piece of paper: his arrest notification,” she said. “The thing I worry about most is the fact that a lot of the people detained in the July 9, 2015 crackdown have been subjected to brutal torture, and I worry that the same thing has happened to Wang Quanzhang.”
Li Heping’s wife Wang Qiaoling said the relatives of the detained lawyers had been forced to form a community of their own, as they have faced continual eviction and harassment from the authorities to prevent them from speaking out.
“Two years after July 9, 2015, apart from speaking out on behalf of our husbands, we have found friendship, and our children have found friendship,” Wang said. “They have also learned a very valuable lesson about the difficulties that we face in life, and how we deal with them.”
Xie Yanyi’s wife Yuan Shanshan said many of the relatives of detained lawyers fasted on the anniversary.
“We have been fasting to mark the the anniversary of July 9,” Yuan said. “As far as I know, more than 10 people have been doing this.”
“Another way of marking it has been to hold up placards,” she said. “The authorities, basically the judicial authorities, have told lawyers and law firms not to hold any activities marking the anniversary.”