Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned from an informed source that the sister and brother-in-law of Li Wangyang (李旺阳) were taken to a hotel today, June 7, and are being held there by the police. Li Wangyang is a Hunan labor activist who was found dead of purported suicide in a hospital room in Shaoyang, Hunan on June 6.
The source said that the couple, Li Wangling (李旺玲) and Zhao Baozhu (赵宝珠), feel isolated and fear for their safety. Calls to Zhao’s cell phone encountered a constant busy signal. In addition, according to media and online reports, two friends of the couple have also been put under police surveillance.
The source told HRIC that the police have agreed to delay the cremation of Li’s body and to allow the couple to observe the autopsy. The source also said that the couple met with Guangzhou-based rights defense lawyer Tang Jingling (唐荆陵) and retained him to represent Li’s case. However, they have been unable to contact him since the meeting, and Tang’s current whereabouts remain unknown.
HRIC urges that the authorities conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into the cause of Li Wangyang’s death and make the findings public.
HRIC is deeply concerned about the safety of Li’s sister and brother-in-law and urges that the authorities immediately restore their personal freedom and ensure the right of Li’s family to retain legal representation of their own choosing.
For more information on Li Wangyang, see:
- “Relatives Question Hunan Activist’s ‘Suicide’; Demand Autopsy,” June 6, 2012
- “Activist Free after Ten-Year Term; Three Writers to Be Released This Month,” May 5, 2011
- “Despite Claims to the Contrary, China Holds UN Torture Rapporteur at Arm's Length,” November 8, 2001
- “Prisoner Profile: Li Wangyang,” China Rights Forum, Fall 2001
- “Action,” China Rights Forum, Fall 2001
- “Veteran Labor Activist Li Wangyang Sentenced, September 20, 2001
- “Warning to the Shaoyang Local Government: Stop Persecuting Li Wangyang Right Now!,” September 24, 2011
- “Veteran Labor Activist Li Wangyang Convicted of Subversion,” September 6, 2001