07/01/2019, 16.20
CHINA
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G20 effect: Wang Quanzhang, human rights lawyer receives first prison visit after 4 years

by John Ai

Massive security measures in and out of the prison. Li Wenzu, his wife, said that her husband was almost unrecognizable and that hIr psychological condition was very bad. Jiang Tianyong'S health is serious too.

Linyi (AsiaNews) - At the G20 in Osaka (Japan, June 28-29), the human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang was able to visit his family for the first time in four years on June 28. However, the police had reinforced security outside the prison and a Japanese cameraman was beaten by plainclothes policemen.

Wang's wife, Li Wenzu, and her son were allowed to enter Linyi Prison in the afternoon. Li, who fought fiercely to see her husband, told the media that her husband was almost unrecognizable and that his psychological conditions were very bad. Li also said that Wang "was anxious, thin, and look old; and he looked a like a stranger and could not communicate normally."

The entire visit was subjected to close police surveillance. Li Wenzu said that a policeman with a headset sat next to Wang and recorded their dialogue, while another took pictures with a camera. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes.

Outside the prison, there were dozens of plainclothes policemen. The entrance to the prison was entirely manned and isolated. Some of the plainclothes policemen used umbrellas to hinder the people taking pictures. A Japanese operator was thrown to the ground and beaten. A witness said that the authorities parked two vehicles with mobile phone blocking devises and that his cell phone did not work in the area near the prison.

Wang Quanzhang disappeared in police custody during the campaign against human rights lawyers, labelled "709" because it began on 9 July 2015.

Hundreds of lawyers and activists were denounced, arrested and convicted. Some of them were released after period of imprisonment which left them with physical and mental problems. Throughout his detention, Wang Quanzhang was never allowed to meet his lawyer or family members. In 2019 he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for "subversion against the state".

Relatives of some human rights lawyers accompanied Li Wenzu to Linyi Prison, but some were banned from arriving in Linyi.

After Wang was convicted, requests to visit him were all rejected. The prison authorities justified themselves by saying that "the speakers are being restored". Li Wenzu and other family members sent letters and complaints to various government departments, but very often the government representatives refused to meet her or refused the document presented.

Meanwhile, another human rights lawyer, Jiang Tianyong, is under house arrest in his hometown of Xinyang (Henan). Jiang has very severe edema of the foot, but the police will not allow him to receive medical visits.

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