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Wife of Detained Lawyer Accuses Beijing Police of Harassment


Voice of America News

Li Heping, one of several rights lawyers detained since July 2015 (DJY)

HONG KONG — The wife of a detained human rights lawyer in China has accused Beijing police of harassing her landlord and forcing him not to renew her lease.

Wang Qiaoling recently went to Tianjin, east of Beijing, to find out about the trial of her husband, Li Heping. He is one of several rights lawyers detained since July 2015. When she got home Tuesday, the owner of her building told her to move out.

The property owner was under the orders of local police, Wang Qiaoling told VOA on Wednesday.

“Pressed by police, the landlord is under lots of pressure,” she said. “I have talked to him before he told me he could not renew our lease, and I thought I would start looking, even though I know police would force us to move again. However, when rights lawyers were put on trial July 29, I was not allowed to leave home for five days. Now I have to move out tomorrow, it is hard to find the right apartment.”

Chinese authorities have not commented on the allegations.

Wang said she has filed a “request for information” with the local police station, asking for an explanation as to why she was not allowed to leave home.

“I have to file the request. It is horrible that they detained me for 28 hours without any legal procedure,” she said. “Then they told me I had to go home. If I do not go home, they would carry me to a car and force me to go home. They then forbid me to leave the apartment.”

Wang’s husband, Li Heping, was arrested in July 2015 during the government crackdown against human rights lawyers who had taken up sensitive cases in which clients challenged the government.

Since the arrests, the lawyers have been deprived of legal counsel of their own choosing and have not been allowed to see their families.

China put four human rights defenders on trial last week, each of whom received a prison sentence of 3 years to 7 ½ years for state subversion.

One of those sentenced was Zhou Shifeng, director of Beijing’s Fengrui Law Firm.

Wang’s husband works for the same firm. The court told Wang last week that her husband’s case had been sent back for further investigation.

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