April 30, 2018
Authorities in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin have launched an “investigation” into detained human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, nearly three years after his incommunicado detention amid a nationwide police operation in 2015.
Wang was initially detained amid a wave of police raids launched in July 2015 on suspicion of “incitement to subvert state power.”
Lawyers, friends and relatives have made more than 50 attempts to visit him in detention since then, and his wife Li Wenzu has been repeatedly harassed for speaking out on behalf of her husband.
Li has herself been targeted for repeated harassment by police, who have forced her to leave rented accommodations several times since his detention, by putting pressure on her landlords.
Wang once worked for the now-shuttered Fengrui law firm, the first target of police raids and detentions in July 2015 that broadened into a nationwide operation targeting more than 300 lawyers, law firm staff and associated rights activists for detention, professional sanctions, house arrest, and travel bans, including for family members.
Last week, Tianjin police traveled to the southwestern city of Kunming in a bid to interview fellow rights attorney Lin Qilei, who was appointed to defend Wang but denied access to his client, as a “witness” in the case, Lin told RFA.
He said he had refused to cooperate.