Below is a message sent today by Wang Qiaoling (王峭岭), wife of lawyer Li Heping (李和平), who has been in detention since July 2015 in the 709 Crackdown and is facing “subversion of state power” charges. She reports that in recent days cameras are mounted in front of her apartment building tracking her movement, and she is being followed by several security policemen. She fears that she will be arrested soon.
Wang, who has been an active advocate for the release of her husband and of other 709 detainees, is the recipient of the 2016 Franco-German Prize for Human Rights.
Are the 709 Cases Taking a New Direction? (Part 1)
Wang Qiaoling, wife of Li Heping, detained 709 Laweyer
April 7, 2017
[Translation by Human Rights in China]
In recent days, I’ve had a strange feeling as soon as I stepped outside my house. It’s been like this every day. But it was yesterday when I discovered that there’ve been more and more cameras pointed at me. By my count, outside our apartment building, at the entrance to the basement, etc., there are, all of a sudden, three to four additional cameras. Last August, the very day after I moved to Song Zhuang [a suburb east of Beijing], I was locked out of the building by the landlord. Later, I rented a place in the Daxing Junyue International Neighborhood, and had a peaceful half year without being evicted. These past few days, these cameras have been recording my every move.
The appearance of this cluster of cameras unnerves me, and I can’t help feeling frightened because no policemen had watched me even during the period of the Two Congress [March 2017], and now I’m being tracked by cameras. And these days, family members, lawyers, and friends are continuously telling me things like: “You’re in great danger.” And a Domestic Security agent even told a friend of mine: “There’s no question Wang Qiaoling will be taken away. She’s mixed up in politics.” And they warned family members of other detained lawyers: “Don’t communicate with Wang Qiaoling anymore. She has crossed the red line. She’s treaded on the red line so much that it has become red threads.” Every time I heard the retelling of these things, my heart tightened, and I told myself I might as well prepare to be arrested. But I tended to forget about the danger quickly. But these few days, I understand that danger is really approaching.
The cameras are staring at me; and there are several hefty guys with thick arms and rounded middle tailing me. And Li Wenzhu [wife of detained lawyer Wang Quanzhang] took one look at them and said they didn’t look like Domestic Security agents from Shijingshan District.
Therefore, today, I announce to all relatives and friends: I have already made this arrangement with a friend: In the event that I am arrested, she will take my little daughter to my mother and sister, but my son will remain in Beijing to continue to board at school. I have also written a power of attorney and given it to my friend authorizing her [to act on my behalf]. From this point forward, if I haven’t been heard from in more than an hour, it’s possible that I have been disappeared.
My final words—perhaps my will: This past year, I have never regretted anything that I did for my husband and family. Being arrested is actually an accomplishment for me: it will mark the transformation of a housewife who never used her brain to think about things into a citizen. When that happens, I will say this: thank you, Party and country.