Four wives of detained human rights activists and lawyers were taken away on Friday to a Tianjin police station as they inquired about a trial scheduled to begin on August 1. Their husbands were detained in China’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, which started on July 9, 2015.

Three women, Li Wenzu, Fan Lili and Wang Qiaoling, were accompanying Liu Ermin, the wife of human rights activist Zhai Yanmin, to confirm whether the trials for those charged with subverting state power would begin on August 1, a date reported by the Bowen Press. Zhai is one of the detainees facing the charge.

YouTube video

Wang said in a video uploaded by Boxun News: “We wanted to confirm whether there was a trial on August 1. She [Judge Sun] said that we should leave our phone numbers and go back to wait. I said I waited for one year – we cannot trust you anymore. We want answers today – are you going to start the trial or not?”

Wang said that Liu, who is crying in the video, was afraid the police would beat her. Liu was previously beaten by police following a peaceful protest.

See also: Reluctant human rights defenders: The wives of those detained in China’s lawyer crackdown

Li said in the video that the police came and took them away from the second floor, so they waited in the courtyard for the court staff to come back from their lunch hour. However, at the end of the video, police officers asked the three women to go away, and said that they could not stay in the courtyard.

Li Wenzu, Liu Ermin, and Wang Qiaoling
Li Wenzu, Liu Ermin, and Wang Qiaoling outside the Tianjin court. Photo: alicedreamss via Twitter.

According to the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, the four were later forcibly taken to the Guajiasi police station in a police car. A message sent by Wang to her friends at 5pm said the police wanted to talk with Fan and Liu separately. Wang said “it’s a really simple thing – if there is no trial, just say no. With the situation now, I’m afraid it’s true that [the trial is on] August 1!”

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.