Police in Shandong’s Jinan district deny that they are keeping the recently released human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang under surveillance and away from his family in Beijing.
“The police station isn’t managing him; he’s not within our remit,” the officer who answered the phone at the Shengjing police station in Shandong’s provincial capital, Jinan said.
“You should contact the neighbourhood office,” he said, suggesting that Wang is being “managed” by local neighbourhood committee officials instead.
Multiple calls to the cell phone listed for the head of the Shengjing neighbourhood committee rang unanswered during office hours on Monday.
Fellow rights attorney Xie Yang said Wang is still not free, in spite of being “released” from Shandong’s Linyi Prison.
“The people monitoring him are [still working for the police],” Xie said. “Or rather, the police can mobilize and direct them. They have just changed the way they do it.”
In a brief interview with RFA on Monday, Wang said he hopes to be reunited with his family as soon as possible.
“I have aged a great deal, but I’m still in quite good health,” Wang told RFA. “I have no major health problems apart from occasional ear infections.”
“The neighbourhood committee is imposing restrictions on me, but the police haven’t ordered them to directly restrict my personal freedom,” he said.
Wang said he is in the process of applying for a national ID card.
“I’m going down to the police station with Xie Yang to get an ID card,” he said. “I can see the sky, the green grass and lovely flowers, so that’s very real for me.”
Wang said international media attention may have helped his situation, and praised his wife, Li Wenzu, whose advocacy on his behalf he said had been “beyond what I could have imagined.”
“I am very grateful to my family, and I hope to be reunited with them as soon as possible,” he said. “This is the main thing I am trying to make happen.”
Li called for Wang to be allowed back to Beijing to rejoin his family.
“They have said all along that Quanzhang would be at liberty after 14 days of quarantine, but it’s 16 days now [since his release],” she said.
“What I want more than anything is for Quanzhang to come to Beijing immediately, to come home to me and our child.”
Wang was released from Shandong’s Linyi Prison at the end of a four-and-a-half year jail term handed down on Jan. 28, 2019 by the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court, which found him guilty of “subversion of state power.”
A nationwide police operation under the administration of President Xi Jinping has targeted more than 300 lawyers, law firms, and related activists for questioning, detention, imprisonment, debarring, and travel bans since it launched in July 2015. (Source: RFA)