The wife of jailed Chinese rights attorney Wang Quanzhang says she is is concerned about his deteriorating health following a visit that was heavily policed and disrupted by security personnel.
Wang's wife Li Wenzu visited him for the fifth time since his trial, at Shandong's Linyi Prison on Friday.
Li said Wang has put on a lot of weight since her last visit, and his skin has become much darker.
"His face in particular has a very dark tan," Li told RFA after the visit. "I asked him what happened, and he said it was sunburn."
"I don't think this this is normal at all," she said. "Why is he so tan and his skin so dry just because he's in jail?"
"I am also worried about his health because he suddenly put on so much weight ... which is very harmful to health," Li said.
She said Wang appeared somewhat calmer than in her previous two meetings with him, and that he had interacted well with the couple's child.
"Our kid visited him too, and recited a poem for him, which I think should have cheered him up a lot," Li said.
Li arrived at the prison on Friday along with fellow activists Wang Qiaoling, Yuan Shanshan, and Niu Ermin.
The meeting began at around 10:00 a.m. on Friday and lasted half an hour. Li then visited the prison office to try to apply for medical parole for Wang, but was turned away.
She was also denied a copy of the judgment from his trial.
"I asked if they would give me a copy of the judgment but they said it was all locked away in a cabinet, and that it could only be given to him when he got out [at the end of his sentence]," Li said.
Rights activist Ye Jinghuan said the authorities don't always let Li know if she will be allowed to visit Wang ahead of time.
Harassment by officials
Li is also harassed by officials outside the gates of the jail, Ye said.
"There isn't a fixed time for the visits, and every time she goes, they have a propaganda car there with a blaring speaker that always parks right next to her," Ye said.
"They have also hit journalists and snatched away their cell phones, and those of Yuan Shanshan and Wang Qiaoling," she said. "There are always a lot of men there sitting under umbrellas in the middle of the day, and stopping them from talking to reporters."
Wang is currently serving a four-and-a-half year jail term handed down on Jan. 28 by the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, which found him guilty of "subversion of state power."
The verdict and sentence followed repeated delays, resulting in Wang being held in pretrial detention for more than three years with no access to a lawyer or family visits.
Rights groups say there are concerns that Wang may have been subjected to torture, forced medication, or other mistreatment in detention, as he was detained incommunicado for such a long period of time, and that this may be the reason behind officials' insistence on secrecy.
During that time, the authorities failed to provide the public with a proper account of Wang’s prolonged detention, including Wang’s family and family-appointed defense lawyers.
Reported by Wong Siu-san and Sing Man for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.