Human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang reunited with his wife and son in Beijing today after nearly five years in prison.
In 2015, Wang was arrested as part of a nationwide crackdown on individuals who provided legal defense to people targeted by the government. For three years, he remained missing, and his wife, Li Wenzu, became an ardent activist for his freedom. Together, the couple had a young son, whom Li had to raise without her husband.
Wang resurfaced in the Tianjin No. 1 Detention Center in 2018. He was tried in a secretive hearing later that year for “subversion of state power.” Authorities sentenced him to four-and-a-half years in prison with a five-year deprivation of political rights. He was then transferred to a prison in Linyi, Shandong province.
On May 20, 2019, Li was allowed to watch a short video of Wang and was shocked by the deterioration of his health.
Wang was released earlier this month, but officials immediately quarantined him in Jinan, Shandong, where he is originally from. This stoked fear the officials were using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to keep him locked away, since he was not allowed to social distance with his family in Beijing.
However, at 7:45 p.m. Beijing Standard Time (BST) today, Wang arrived in Beijing and met with his wife and son for the first time since his release. Weeping, Li embraced her husband, and the family held each other close.
More information on this story is forthcoming.