Wife of human rights lawyer on 100 km march to break the silence on husband's arrest
by Wang Zhicheng

The woman will arrive in Tianjin, where she believes her husband is held prisoner. For 1000 days, nothing is known of his fate. Fears of torture and violence. Li Wenzu is accompanied on the march by Wang Qiaoling, wife of the Christian lawyer Li Heping, who was sentenced last April.


Beijing (AsiaNews) - Li Wenzhou, wife of the human rights lawyer, Wang Quanzhang, began a march of over 100 km from Beijing to Tianjin yesterday for news of her husband, who has been in police custody for more than 1000 days. The woman thinks that her husband is imprisoned in Tianjin.

Wang Quanzhang is one of the human rights lawyers who once defended tortured people from the police, members of the spiritual movement of Falun Gong, farmers who have been defrauded of their land.

He disappeared in police custody in August 2015 following a fierce campaign by the authorities against human rights lawyers. The campaign was called "709" because it started on 9 July 2015 and led to the detention, conviction and arrest of hundreds of lawyers.

Many of those arrested - at least 50% - are Christians (Protestants and Catholics) who use the loopholes in Chinese law to defend communities, priests and pastors from the abuses of local authorities. Several of them defended the Zhejiang communities during the cross-destruction campaign.

Li Wenzu states that the authorities have notified her of her husband's arrest, but neither she nor her lawyer have ever had the chance to see him.

Such a long silence worries the family and human rights activists. Several lawyers previously detained and then released revealed that they were tortured: electric shock; immersion in a cage under water; forced to take drugs, sleep deprivation, physical and verbal violence.

After three years, many of those arrested were sentenced to prison or house arrest. Several of them have made public confessions on video, which their relatives believe were extracted under violence.

In all these years, Li Wenzu has always fought for news of her husband, supported by the wives of other arrested lawyers. The woman is being accompanied on her march by Wang Qiaoling, wife of the Christian lawyer Li Heping, who was sentenced last April.

According to experts, the campaign of arrests and convictions of the 709 lawyers cancels out the promises made by Chinese President Xi Jinping to implement the rule of law in China.

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