The wife of a Chinese human rights lawyer who has had no contact with the outside world since he was detained in a crackdown three years ago has finally received news that he is still alive.

Wang Quanzhang was among dozens of lawyers and activists jailed in a wide-reaching clampdown in 2015. He is the only one who has not been tried or released.

On Friday, Wang’s wife Li Wenzu told HKFP that she had been informed by a trusted source that a lawyer had been able to meet her husband.

Wang Quanzhang. Photo: RFA.

She said she was told that “his body is normal, and his mind is normal.” She declined to reveal the source to protect their identity.

“Quanzhang, waiting for you to come home and eat dumplings!” she wrote on Twitter.

Li had been campaigning for his release since his arrest, visiting the complaints office of the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing weekly and attempting to file lawsuits against the authorities.

In April, she attempted to march 100 kilometres to draw attention to her husband’s situation, before her efforts were interrupted by the police.

She has received no news about him from authorities except a notice that he was charged with “subversion of state power,” not knowing whether he was alive or dead. Authorities blocked lawyers from seeing him.

Some who were detained in the crackdown have alleged that they were tortured, multiplying concerns about Wang’s wellbeing.

Jade Dussart, of anti-death penalty NGO ACAT France, welcomed the news on Twitter: “His wife & kid had no news from him since his arrest. Let’s hope they can be reunited soon,” she said.

Merkel meeting

As a lawyer at the Fengrui law firm, which saw many of its staff detained in the crackdown, Wang had worked on the cases of Falun Gong practitioners, investigative journalists and democracy advocates.

Li Wenzu with Angela Merkel. Photo: Twitter/SwedenMoli2017.

During her visit to Beijing in May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Li and Xu Yan, the wife of lawyer Yu Wensheng, who was detained in January and charged with “inciting subversion of state power.”

Merkel said she brought up human rights during her talks with Premier Li Keqiang.

On Monday, Hong Kong lawyers and activists marked the third anniversary of the crackdown with two protests.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.