A mainland lawyer has said he has withdrawn from representing human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang as he lost three teeth in a fall during his morning exercise routine.

Wang has been detained for over three years without trial following a wide-reaching clampdown on lawyers and activists. The “709 crackdown” began in July 2015.

Wang was charged with inciting subversion of state power in February last year, but he had not been heard from until July this year.

Wang Quanzhang. Photo: RFA.

His wife, Li Wenzu, has been campaigning for his release. In a message posted on Sunday, she said her husband’s lawyer – Liu Weiguo – had withdrawn from the case.

Liu was the only one who said he had seen Wang during his detention. He confirmed in July that Wang was still alive.

Liu Weiguo. Photo: Handout.

Liu said he was authorised to take on Wang’s case on July 12, according to the message shared by Li.

‘Long-term treatment’

Liu said he broke three teeth on August 20 during a morning exercise routine and required long-term treatment.

He said he cannot speak normally with lost teeth: “Practically, I am unable to perform the duty of defence.”

He said he has told the court and Wang’s family of his situation.

“I also declare to all sectors of society: I now formally withdraw from representing Wang Quanzhang,” Liu said in a message relayed by Li.

Last Monday, Li went to China’s highest court intending to hand in a petition letter, but she was blocked from entering.

Wang’s case has raised international concern. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt met with Li Wenzu in May and July respectively.

Earlier this month, a group of Hong Kong activists also spoke of Wang’s case at a United Nations conference on human rights abuses in China.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.