Chinese lawyer and human rights activist Wang Quanzhang has claimed that he was tortured to extract a confession. In an interview with Japanese Kyodo News, he has claimed that he was beaten and kicked and threatened with harsher sentences in order to get him to confess to the crime he was accused of.
Wang Quanzhang completed a four and half years term in April this year. He hinted towards the fact that authorities engage in illegal investigations in order to suppress human rights activists. In an interview by Japan’s Kyodo News, “Authorities decided on the crime and sentence in a way that is convenient for them,” he said. He was the last human rights activist to be freed among the 300 democracy activists that were arrested in 2015.
For three years after his detention, his safety could not be confirmed. Wang Quanzhang was detained for allegedly disturbing ‘public order’. He was accused of trying to subvert ‘state power’ by galvanising anti-government sentiment on the internet and ultimately sent to prison. From September 2015 until his formal arrest in January 2016, he was held at Tianjin near Beijing.
Tortured, held down ‘like a pig’
Wang described the place as a hotbed of torture. After significant torture, he was forced to sign an affidavit admitting that he attempted to subvert the government after receiving funds from abroad. During his first trial, held behind closed doors, he was held down ‘like a pig’ after he yelled, “What do you mean by the rule of the country based on law.”
As per the report, When Wang expressed his wish to make an appeal against the prison sentence, he was threatened by a judiciary official that his term would be extended to eight years. “My cases prove that (China’s judicial procedure) is sloppy. It is the public safety police, prosecutors and court authorities that disrupt law,” he said.
Wang was pursuing land rights cases for poor villagers when he was arrested and represented members of the banned Falun Gong movement. His arrest is consistent with the approach China has adopted over the years towards human rights activists. There have been numerous instances when individuals have simply disappeared for criticising the government.