China rights attorney Wang Quanzhang is facing even more backlash after Beijing’s repressive authorities reportedly cut power to his family’s new apartment. Due to police harassment, his wife and child were forced to leave, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.
Wang and his family had to leave behind their old apartment following continuous harassment by authorities, who have been overstepping their power by targeting the families of other rights attorneys, all of whom were arrested during a 2015 crackdown on rights lawyers. They severed Wang’s family’s access to utilities, forcing them out.
Wang was previously jailed for more than four years for refusing to plead guilty on charges of “state subversion,” SCMP reported in 2020. He was released, but has remained a target under Beijing’s predatorial watch.
Wang and his family were also slapped with a travel ban, trapping them within the draconian hold of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) sphere of influence.
“Police and corporate security personnel in Shunyi tracked us down to our new residence and reported us to the local police station,” Wang said. “They continued to follow us as we were apartment-hunting, and they accused us of ‘trespassing’.”
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Ever since moving into their new suburban home in northern Beijing, they have been monitored and targeted by unknown men, Wang said according to a Twitter post with video clips.
“Are you telling me what to do?” one man urged in a clip, to which Wang responded, “Yes of course, because this is our front door.”
“So is this your private property? You are violating my right to privacy,” the man argued back.
Despite international outcry against authorities, the family was further threatened after their power was cut off on June 18, Wang’s wife, Li Wenzu, posted to Twitter. She had called the power company to solve the problem, and while they told her they would get to it, they eventually told her it was “an internal matter.”
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Later on, police proceeded to force Li and their son out of the apartment, with the child being forced to stay with friends.
“I felt desperate and powerless with all of that happening every day, I could even live the most basic normal existence, and our son couldn’t attend school,” she said. “And now he has to be separated from us.”
Expecting the authorities to cut off their water and gas, Wang and Li are left trapped within the hostile environment, prompting many around the world to call out Beijing’s abuse of them and other lawyers.
“The authorities are requested to implement and guarantee the implementation of the Civil Code and… immediately stop all inappropriate and illegal acts that smear and trample on the law,” the China Human Rights Lawyers Group said in a statement.
Following calls to investigate those who have intruded into lawyers’ homes, a petition was made calling for an end to the attacks.
“They don’t treat ordinary people as human beings, and it’s getting worse,” Luo Shengchun, wife of jailed rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi, said. She was one of those who signed the petition.
According to U.S.-based rights activist, Teng Biao, since the 2015 crackdown, hundreds of rights lawyers have been hunted down by the police, with Wang Quanzhang having “disappeared” for three years.
“China has now upgraded to a high-tech totalitarian system with total disregard for the rule of law and the most basic standards of human rights,” he said.
Another rights lawyer, Xie Yang, was recently detained for visiting his 90-year-old father, who is terminally ill with COVID-19.
“Xie Yang is a very filial son, and the old man really wanted to see him before he dies,” Xie’s ex-wife Chen Guiqiu, who is in the U.S., told RFA. “The court just came up with various excuses to refuse.”