Rights lawyer’s freedom restricted

Wang Quanzhang
(Photo: Human Rights Tulip/Safeguard Defenders)

(Jinan, Shandong—April 13, 2020) Rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang has been under heavy surveillance since his release. Officials have even limited his contact with others.

On April 5, Wang left Linyi Prison, where he spent the past four-and-a-half years on charges related to his human rights work. His sister attempted to pick him up, but police officers held her at her workplace. Authorities immediately sent him to Jinan, Shandong—his hometown—on the grounds that he must be quarantined due to COVID-19’s prevalence. He has not been allowed to meet with his wife and child, who live in Beijing.

On the day of his release, Wang phoned his wife, Li Wenzu, to tell her he was being moved to Shandong. The apartment in which officials placed him was originally rented out to other tenants, who were forcibly evicted to make room for Wang.

In addition, his contact with the outside world has been restricted. Authorities have restricted the use of his phone, especially after he called a fellow attorney. He has been limited to one phone call a day, and he can only call family members.

Li’s cousin tried to visit him and bring necessities, but police prevented her from doing so. A delivery worker planning to bring him a food order was also stopped.

Three plainclothes officers monitor his apartment unit, and more than 10 are stationed near it. His family believes this is no ordinary quarantine and that he is under house arrest. Otherwise, Li has said he would be allowed to quarantine at home with her.

Li has phoned the Shengjing Police Station and the Zhangqiu District Public Security Bureau to file a complaint, but the authorities have refused to respond. She then called the Jinan Municipal Justice Bureau and plans to continue following up.

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