The wife of a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer who went on trial earlier this week was yesterday blocked from submitting a petition protesting her husband’s treatment.
About 30 police officers prevented Li Wenzu (李文足) and about a dozen supporters from entering a Chinese Supreme People’s Court petition office in Beijing.
Li’s petition accuses the court handling the case of her husband, Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), of a severe breach of judicial regulations.
Wang was on Wednesday tried for subversion of state power in a closed hearing after being held without access to his lawyers or family for more than three years.
The court in Tianjin, China, has yet to announce a verdict.
“This is so laughable,” Li said as she was jostled by a circle of police. “You see all these signs on the streets proclaiming ‘rule of law’... How ironic.”
Wang is among more than 200 lawyers and legal activists who were detained during a 2015 crackdown.
He was a member of Beijing’s Fengrui law firm, among the most recognized in the field broadly known in China as “rights defending.” He worked on land rights cases on behalf of poor villagers and represented members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.
No lawyer hired by Wang’s family has been permitted to see him, Li said, adding that he was given a government-appointed lawyer, Liu Weiguo (劉衛國).
Liu on Wednesday afternoon sent Li a message saying that Wang had fired him at the start of the trial and that he had no further information.
While observers have characterized Liu’s dismissal as an act of defiance from Wang, Li said that it could not be confirmed, because neither she nor any of Wang’s relatives and supporters have been allowed to attend the proceedings.
The Tianjin court on Wednesday said in a statement on its Web site that it “lawfully decided not to make public” the trial hearings, because the case involves state secrets.
Police barricades around the courthouse were removed that afternoon, but it was not clear whether the hearings had ended.
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