Rights activist wins prize

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Wang Quanzhang
(Photo: Human Rights Tulip/Safeguard Defenders)

(Beijing—Dec. 17, 2019) France and Germany awarded Chinese activist Li Wenzu a rights prize on Wednesday.

The two governments claimed Li had made an “exceptional contribution” to human rights in China. She received their Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law on Dec. 10 at the French embassy in Beijing.

As she left her house, however, she was met by state security. They tailed her to the embassy, but she evaded them.

Several other prominent activists had been invited to the ceremony, but authorities prevented them from coming.

Li is the wife of imprisoned Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang. Wang went missing in July 2015, during a crackdown on his profession, and resurfaced behind bars three years later. Since his disappearance, Li has taken up the mantle of advocating on behalf of him and other wrongfully jailed attorneys.

In 2016, Wang Qiaoling, Li’s friend and the wife of the now-freed human rights lawyer Li Heping, won the prize.

In China, attorneys who represent individuals targeted by the government, often find themselves behind bars or subjected to official scrutiny.

Both women have said the award has raised morale in the Chinese human rights community.

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