The wife of jailed Chinese rights attorney Wang Quanzhang has applied for his release on medical parole after visiting him for the second time in three years.
Wang's wife Li Wenzu, the couple's son Wang Guangwei and Wang's sister Wang Quanxiu visited him for half an hour at Shandong's Linyi Prison on Tuesday.
But while Li had been hoping to see some improvement in her husband's befuddled and anxious mental state, his state of mind was pretty much the same as during her first visit one month earlier, she said.
"He told me that he'd seen the video I made [during Wang's three-year incommunicado detention] and the posts I'd written, and that they would give the outside world a bad impression of Linyi Prison," Li told RFA.
"He repeatedly said that Linyi Prison had been good to him," she said. "I told him that he would be free after he got out ... but he said he would have to go and live in Jinan after he got out, because that's where his household registration is."
"He seemed pretty anxious throughout the whole meeting, and judging from everything he said, I think the prison is definitely upping the pressure on him," Li said. "I can tell from the fact that he told me not to go and visit him."
Li said Wang had always been known for his clarity of thought and rigorous logic, but he seemed dazed and anxious now, which made her worry that he had been brainwashed.
Fears of torture, forced medication or other mistreatment
She said she had submitted an application for Wang's release on medical parole immediately after the second visit.
"The prison staff accepted my application and told me to go home and wait for news," she said.
"Wang Quanzhang hasn't shown any improvement or signs of recovery, so I am extremely worried about his physical and mental state, and feel that he needs to get professional treatment right away," Li said. "I don't know yet whether they will allow this."
Debarred rights attorney Tan Yongpei, a close friend of Wang's, said he wasn't optimistic about Li's chances of success, however.
"The Wang Quanzhang case is listed as a very sensitive case, so how can they release him to hospital for medical treatment?" Tan said. "It looks as if they are trying to induce mental illness in him."
Wang recently began 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 Gao Feng for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.