Authorities in mainland China will start the trial of detained human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang on the morning of December 26, according to his wife Li Wenzu.
The announcement came three years after Wang was detained in the “709 crackdown” in August 2015, a wide-reaching clampdown on Chinese lawyers and activists. Wang was charged with inciting subversion of state power last February, but he was not heard from again until July this year.
Li posted on Facebook on Monday that she had received notification of Wang’s trial.
“Just now, lawyer Liu Weiguo sent me a message: trial begins at 8:30am on the 26th,” she wrote. “Wang Quanzhang was charged on Valentines Day, February 14, 2017. On Christmas Eve, December 24, 2018, I learn that his trial begins on the day after Christmas.”
“December 26 is a day with special meaning. The trial begins at 8:30, I am in Beijing and must get out early.” She added. “All are welcome to attend the trial.”
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.
Last week, Li and three supporters shaved their heads in protest of Wang’s indefinite detention and tried to submit a petition to a Beijing court.
“We can go bald, but the country cannot be lawless,” the four women shouted outside the courthouse at the time.
Wang’s case has sparked attention both in Hong Kong and overseas. The Hong Kong Bar Association on Tuesday issued a statement urging for his release, adding that Wang has been “held incommunicado for over three years without any form of due process.”
Earlier this month, the Human Rights Commission of the Geneva Bar Association initiated an open petition letter, supported by some national lawyers organisations across the world, calling for Wang’s immediate release.