November 28, 2018
Li Wenzu, wife of disappeared human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, has been awarded Sweden’s Edelstam Prize for “exceptional courage” in defending human rights, the organizers said.
But the prize was presented to U.S.-based activist Yuan Weijing in her place, as Li was prevented from traveling to Stockholm to receive the award in person.
“Actually, I was very unsettled when I found out I had won the award, because so many other relatives and lawyers affected by the July 2015 crackdown have done so much more than I did,” Li told RFA on Wednesday. “But I was very moved [to see] photos and videos [of the ceremony].”
“There have been so many people who have offered me their silent help over the past three years, and we wouldn’t have made it through with their support,” she said. “Some people told me that we are opposing an authoritarian power with love.”
The award ceremony featured a large Chinese character meaning “love,” as well as the iconic red buckets used by Li and fellow activists to highlight the plight of detainees.
“Everyone who attended the ceremony was given the character for ‘love,’ as well as a little red bucket,” Yuan Weijing told RFA after receiving the award on Li’s behalf.
“This award is intended as moral support for Li and for the other wives and family members, who, like her, have been fighting for their husbands’ rights and freedom,” she said.
Yuan, who now lives in the United States with her husband, human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng, said the award should also heighten awareness outside China of the plight of the country’s lawyers.