Rights Activist Jailed in China's Guangdong Over Support For Hong Kong

2021-03-24
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Rights Activist Jailed in China's Guangdong Over Support For Hong Kong Guangzhou-based rights activist Zhang Wuzhou, who was detained after she opposed Beijing's imposition of a draconian national security law on Hong Kong, is shown in an undated photo.
Zhang Wuzhou

A court in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong has handed down a two-year, nine-month prison sentence to a rights activist who held up a placard in public to show her opposition to a draconian national security law imposed on Hong Kong by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Zhang Wuzhou was handed the sentence by the Qingcheng District People's Court in the provincial capital Guangzhou, which found her guilty of "obstructing public officials" and "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble."

As well as her public opposition to the National Security Law for Hong Kong, the indictment against Zhang also mentioned her use of slogans to mark the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre in Guangzhou's Baiyun Mountain Park in June 2020, and her public support for rights attorney Sun Shihua after she was beaten up by police.

It said that when police notified Zhang Wuzhou that she was under criminal detention. Zhang Wuzhou refused to sign the documents and tore up the warrant. She allegedly also "assaulted" a police officer during her detention.

Zhang has yet to decide whether or not to appeal the verdict and sentence.

Zhang's son Xu Hongbo said his mother had kept repeating "This isn't the truth" and "I was framed" after she heard the sentence.

"She's in a poor way, not in a good state mentally or physically," Xu said.

He said he and the rest of the family are very concerned for Zhang's well-being, after reporting that she was tortured in detention last year.

"The police hurt her while she was in the police station, leaving her fingers bent out of shape and deformed," Xu said. "She also has problems in her abdomen, her uterus."

"But every time she goes to the doctor they just prod her and send her back again," he said. "It would be better if they got an MRI."

'She won't back down'

Fellow rights activist Liang Yiming said he is also very worried about Zhang.

"Given the kind of person she is, it is no exaggeration to say that she may not get out alive," Liang said. "She will not compromise on anything."

"She won't back down if she is sure that she is in the right."

Zhang, who has already served time in prison for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," made headlines in 2015 alongside her sister Zhang Weichu after their brother Zhang Liumao died in police custody.

Zhang Liumao died inside the Guangzhou No. 3 Detention Center on Nov. 4, 2015, with his family reporting that his body showed multiple signs of severe physical assault.

Relatives and a lawyer who viewed Zhang's body said there were marks on it consistent with torture.

Zhang Weichu, an experienced gynecologist, has lost her job and been evicted from her home along with her young son since taking up her brother's case with the authorities.

She has been unable to secure another job as a doctor since being fired from the Vanke Hospital in Guangdong's Qingyuan city on Aug. 31, 2018.

Reported by Gao Feng for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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