(Photo: Human Rights Tulip/Safeguard Defenders)
Updated on June 28, 2019, at 3:04 p.m. with a personal account from Li Wenzu.
The meeting was reportedly conducted via phone as Wang sat behind a glass window. Wang’s son and sister were also present. The meeting represents the first time Li has seen her husband since he was taken into police custody.
Media reports say Li commented how Wang’s “head was clean-shaven, he had lost about 30 pounds (13.5kg), his skin was darkened and his memory was hazy. He had a list of written things to tell us, saying he had been treated well, but he couldn’t even recall what he had for lunch today.”
Li’s full account of meeting with Wang can be read below.
I, holding my son’s hand, followed the police and entered the meeting lobby with Sister Quanxiu.
I stared at the man sitting inside, separated by the glass wall, and recognized that it was Quanzhang. I was thrilled, smiling and waving to him. However, he just glanced at me without any emotions and even turned his head to the other side, ignoring me. My stomach twisted, but I had no time to think, so I sat down immediately and picked up the phone. Quanzhang’s face was blank, and he dialed the phone, lowering his chin.
I did my best to calm down and control the turmoil in my mind, looking at his face, smiling, and saying, “Hubby, long time no see….”
It seemed that Quanzhang’s eyes couldn’t focus, and he didn’t look at my eyes. His eyes looked empty, wandering, and he responded slowly, saying, “Long time no see.”
I quickly pulled my son to the front, saying, “Quanquan, say ‘Dad.’” Quanzhang saw our san, his lips tilted a little, and it looked like he smiled.
Quanquan called him “Dad” excitedly, asking, “How is the food here? Do you eat well, Dad?” Quanzhang answered slowly, “Good, we have stirred dishes, steamed buns, baozi, and extra meals, everything….” I cuddled my son, and Sister Quanxiu took the phone, asking, “What did you have for extra meals?”
Quanzhang looked at me while hearing Sister Quanxiu’s question, then looked at somewhere else, with a blank face, murmuring, “What were for extra meals….”
Quanzhang started cracking his head, and it seemed that he was thinking very hard and painfully, shaking his head.
Suddenly, Quanzhang looked very distraught, speaking with a high pitch, “I am very good! The prison is nice to me! It is not like what you all have thought!!”
I grabbed the phone from Sister Quanxiu, comforting him and saying, “Quanzhang, don’t be anxious, don’t be anxious, talk slowly….”
Quanzhang looked more devastated, avoiding my eyes, lowering his chin, and murmuring repeatedly, “I am fine! I am fine! The prison is good to me! I gained weight. My high blood pressure has been cured. I don’t take medicine! Now, I have calcium supplements, and I take ithem every day. My living situation is good….”
I burst into tears, looking at Quanzhang’s thin face. He is 176 cm tall, and his weight used to be 90 km. Did he gain weight? He used to have fair skin, but his face and hands all look very dark now. His teeth used to be neat and nice, but there is a wide diastema between his two central incisors now.
My tears flew down unceasingly. Quanquan, sitting on my lap, gave me the tissue paper I held in hands, wiping my tears. Quanzhang looked up at me with glazed eyes, numb. It seemed that he was looking at a stranger rather than his wife who he hasn’t seen for four years, while seeing me weeping.
I looked at Quanzhang with tears in eyes, and Quanzhang looked around. I am his wife, but why didn’t he look at me??
Quanzhang looked a bit calm and picked up a piece of paper which had been laying in front of him, saying, “I have something to tell you. I was afraid that I might forget, so I wrote it down on the paper.”
I listened very carefully and wanted to know what he intended to tell me. Quanzhang opened his mouth, saying urgently, “I am worried about you … Stop doing what you have been doing … Look at Bian Xiaohui, who asked to visit a detainee and ended up being arrested. I am worried about you … Don’t do anything….”
(Bian Xiaohui, one of Quanzhang’s former clients, is a college student whose father is stripped of visitation because of practicing Falun Gong. Bian insisted that the lawyer should be allowed to visit the father, protesting via holding signs, and was arrested. Bian was sentenced to four years in prison).
Quanzhang repeated that he was concerned about me, but his eyes looked at the paper. After uttering one line, he seemed not to know what the next line was, so his eyes searched the paper.
I comforted Quanzhang immediately, “It’s okay, Quanzhang. I am doing alright….”
Quanzhang looked very fussy again, glaring at the paper, and it looked like he was filled with pain. He yelled loudly again, “Don’t do anything, I am worried about you. Raise Quanquan and let him study well. Quanquan would be affected, and it is not good for him!”
I comforted him, “Quanquan is fine, don’t worry about him!”
Quanzhang lowered his chin, not looking at me but roaring in a lower voice, “You don’t see it; Quanquan is not fine! You don’t know!”
I was astounded by Quanzhang’s reaction. He tossed the paper he held in his hands without taking a looking at it. I noted that the paper was full of characters. He didn’t look at me but looked at the floor aimlessly. It seemed that he had difficulty receiving whatever I had said.
Quanquan couldn’t help grabbing the phone, comforting his dad, “Dad, I am very well. Really, I am very well!” It seemed that Quanzhang didn’t hear what Quanquan said, murmuring, “You don’t know. You don’t know….”
I burst into tears again.
At this moment, a beep occurred in the phone call, and Quanzhang said numbly, “One minute to go.”
Quanquan shouted, “Dad, I love you!” Quanzhang responded tonelessly, like a robot, “I love you, too.”
No sound in the phone. Quanzhang stood up, and we stood up as well. Our son put his hand on the glass, and Quanzhang dully put his hand on the glass as well and then left. On the more than 10-meter path, I looked at his back, tears flowing from my eyes: four years, and he looked like a computerized, sluggish blockhead, and he didn’t even look back at us—his wife and son.
June 28, 2019, 8:30 p.m. in Linyi
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