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Contact made with Chinese lawyer detained for three years

Details about the fate of a Chinese lawyer disappeared by authorities over three years ago have emerged for the first time, according to his wife.


Details about the fate of a Chinese lawyer disappeared by authorities over three years ago have emerged for the first time, according to his wife, who fears his jailors are forcing him to take medication.

Wang Quanzhang, who defended political activists and victims of land seizures, has had no contact with the outside world since he disappeared in a 2015 police sweep aimed at courtroom critics of Communist authorities.

He has since been charged with "subversion of state power" but authorities blocked lawyers and family from visiting him. His case has attracted international attention.

German chancellor Angela Merkel met his wife Li Wenzu during a May visit to Beijing -- a rare show of solidarity from a world leader.

A month earlier, Li attempted to march 100 kilometres (60 miles) to a detention facility to highlight her husband's plight before she was thwarted by police.

Speaking to AFP, Li said her husband had been able to meet his own defence lawyer Liu Weiguo earlier this month at a detention centre in Tianjin, near Beijing. But that meeting sparked fresh concerns. "I'm more worried about his health condition", she said, noting that she had been told by Liu his jailors had been giving him blood pressure medication.

Wang had no previous history of the disease, she added, raising fears he was being force-fed the drugs. Amnesty International has noted several cases of detainees caught up in the same crackdown that led to Wang's arrest saying they were made to take similar medications, resulting in severe health effects.

More than 200 Chinese human rights lawyers and activists were detained or questioned during the sweep on July 9, 2015 that ensnared Wang, making it the largest clampdown on the legal profession in recent history.

While most were released on bail, a handful were convicted of various crimes and sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

Wang is the last person in the so-called 709 crackdown to remain in legal limbo and no trial date has been set for him. Li said she was also afraid her husband has been threatened with physical violence if anyone speaks to the press about his situation. As a result Wang's lawyer Liu has so far refused to speak to journalists.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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