The second intermediate people’s court in the Northern Chinese city of Tianjin has been the civil rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang guilty of: he was accused of “Subversion of state power”. For this he should serve a prison sentence of four and a half years, as the court ruled. In addition, he has been deprived for five years of political rights.

Wang Quanzhang is already imprisoned for three and a half years. The process took place in the last December: The Public was excluded from the court proceedings on the grounds that “state secrets”. Wang’s wife, Li Wenzu, who had repeatedly called for the publicity of his release, was effectively put under house arrest to prevent them participating in the process.

The human rights organization Amnesty International criticized Wang’s conviction as a “great injustice”. The judgment was part of the ongoing approach by the Chinese government against human rights lawyers.

Li Wenzu (April 2018)

The 42-Year-old had represented activists and victims of Land seizures. He worked for the now-closed law firm of Fengrui. To Weiwei, one of whose clients was the famous artist Ai.

the firm’s founder, Zhou Shifeng was also convicted of “undermining the state power” to seven years in prison. Both lawyers were detained in July 2015 in the Wake of a wave of persecution against some 300 lawyers, law firm staff, activists, and relatives. The large-scale police action was under the name “709-Crackdown”.

The case has international caused quite a stir. The Federal government was repeated for Wang. German Chancellor Angela Merkel met during a trip to China Wenzu in may of last year, his wife Li.

aar/dpa/AFP