BEIJING (AP) — The wife of a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer who went on trial earlier this week was blocked Friday from submitting a petition protesting her husband’s treatment.
About 30 police officers prevented Li Wenzu and about a dozen supporters from entering a Supreme Court petition office in Beijing.
Li’s petition accuses the court handling her husband Wang Quanzhang’s case of a severe violation of judicial regulations.
Wang was tried for subversion of state power in a closed hearing Wednesday after being held without access to his lawyers or family for more than three years. The court in the city of Tianjin 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 the 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 meditation sect.
No lawyer hired by Wang’s family has been permitted to see him, Li said. Instead, he was given a government-appointed lawyer, Liu Weiguo. Liu sent Li a message Wednesday afternoon saying that Wang 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 it could not be confirmed because neither she nor any of Wang’s relatives and supporters were allowed to attend the proceedings.
The Tianjin court said in a statement on its website Wednesday that it “lawfully decided not to make public” the trial hearings because the case involved state secrets.
The police barricades around the courthouse were removed that afternoon, but it is not clear whether the hearings have ended.
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