The wife of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang – in prison for more than a thousand days – writes about her own detention. Police stopped her march to visit her husband. “Now that my son and I are in their hands, killing us is easy. If my son and I are disappeared, if we are killed, please, my many friends, help write this tragedy in history.”
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Li Wenzu (pictured) is the wife of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who has been held by Chinese authorities for more than a thousand days at an undisclosed location.
Wang is one of more than 200 Chinese lawyers and activists, half of them Christians, who were arrested or taken in for questioning in the summer of 2015 during a brutal repression campaign dubbed "709" because it began on 9 July.
Li Wenzu notes that the authorities have notified her of her husband's arrest, but neither she nor her lawyer has ever had a chance to meet him.
Accompanied by Wang Qiaoling, wife of Christian lawyer Li Heping, convicted a year ago, Li Wenzu on 4 April began a 130 km march from Beijing to Tianjin to get news of her husband. She is supported by the wives of other detained lawyers and other activists joined them along the way.
On the sixth day of the march, the group was dispersed by plainclothes police, and Li Wenzu was taken back to Beijing by force and put under house arrest.
What follows is the diary she kept on Twitter on the second day of her isolation, before a dozen plainclothes agents and helpers stopped their surveillance and allowed Li Wenzu to leave her flat for a walk with her son.
11 April 2018
This is the 1006th day of [my husband] Wang Quanzhang's disappearance, and the second day of my home detention. Even Auntie (the nanny) and my toddler son are blocked from leaving home. The plainclothes police at the door told us that if we go out the door, they will kill us. It was only after I called 110 [China's 911] that Auntie and my son were let out of the house. As they walked out, a group of old women from the neighborhood committee yelled at them, "traitors!" and Auntie and my son both burst into tears.
This is the 1006th day of Wang Quanzhang's disappearance, and the second day of my home detention.
In the morning, Wang Qiaoling (王峭岭), Fan Lili (樊丽丽), Big Brother Zhang Shangen (张善根), Big Sister Guo Shumei (郭树梅), Big Sister Wang Xiuzhen (王秀珍), and sister Zhu Ling (朱玲) came to visit me. But they were stopped by 40 or 50 people who were in the courtyard; the group included the neighborhood committee director and personnel, as well as plainclothes police officers. Not only were they swearing at [my friends], but they also grabbed their phones, and even broke Wang Qiaoling's glasses from the side.
Li Wenzu, on her way to Tianjin, stood in front of this banner about "Comrade Xi Jinping," "the core", "the New Era," and "socialism with Chinese characteristics." She's living it!
I opened the door and wanted to go downstairs to greet them, but the door wouldn't push open; several people were pushing it shut from the other side. My friends couldn't come up, and I couldn't get out. All I could do was climb up the window to talk with my friends who had come to see me. From the 5th floor window, I also spoke angrily about "709" and Wang Quanzhang, which led to onlookers gathering downstairs to watch the commotion.
Another thing happened that I didn't expect: a little after 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Auntie wanted to take the boy out for a stroll, and a man standing in the doorway turned to us and shouted: "If you dare to come out, we'll kill you, do you not believe it?" I said, "I believe it, I very much believe it, because you're all hooligans and scoundrels, I know that you're capable of anything."
With my 110 call in which I made a strong demand, my son and Auntie were able to go out. However, a group of women from the neighborhood committee who were at the entrance to the building hurled all kinds of abuse at Auntie and the child, saying that Auntie was a turncoat and traitor. "Go back!" They shouted at them. Auntie took the child back home; both of them were crying. These people not only blocked us, but also claimed constantly that they would kill us. Now that my son and I are in their hands, killing us is easy. If my son and I are disappeared, if we are killed, please, my many friends, help write this tragedy in history. Thank you, my friends, for visiting me today! Thank you, netizens, for your constant attention and concern!