“He is a man with no morals and integrity,” Huang said in a telephone interview. “He’s extremely good at playing or acting, and confusing right and wrong.”
Wu’s lawyers want to use his case to test the Chinese government’s resolve to stick by its stated opposition to convictions based on evidence extracted through torture. In a written record of a meeting with his lawyers in December last year, Wu described being beaten, kicked and deprived of food and sleep as police tried to coerce him to sign a confession.
On occasion, Wu’s arms were tied behind his back with a rope that was then strung from a ceiling beam — a torture method dubbed the “suspended airplane,” he told his lawyers. If he fainted, he was woken with water or chemical stimulants.
“As soon as I did not cooperate, they hit me, hanged me,” Wu told his lawyers, according to a copy of the deposition provided by Wu’s family.
Wu’s legal adviser, Li Zhuang (李莊), said more than 20 witnesses also were tortured.
During a pretrial meeting at the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court on Monday, Wu’s lawyers demanded that the court keep their testimony out of Wu’s trial, which they expect to begin within a month.
An official at the Huizhou police bureau’s propaganda department said he “had not heard” that interrogators might have tortured Wu.
Wu left China in the late 1970s as a stowaway to Hong Kong, where he obtained residency. He moved with his family to the US in 1994, settled in Los Angeles and eventually became a US citizen.
Even as an American, Wu spent most of his time in China, tending to his businesses and visiting Los Angeles twice a year, his daughter said.
However, she said he was also active in Los Angeles’ Chinese-American business community; photographs provided by her show him hoisting a US flag as he welcomed then-Chinese vice president Xi to the city early last year.
Chinese authorities have denied Wu access to US officials, saying they regard him as a Hong Kong resident because he last entered China on a Hong Kong identity card.
US officials have sent several notes to Chinese authorities about Wu’s case, Wu’s daughter said. US embassy spokesman Nolan Barkhouse said US officials were monitoring the case, but could not comment out of privacy concerns.