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In Pictures: Security personnel block wife of detained China lawyer Wang Quanzhang from submitting court petition

The wife of a detained Chinese human rights lawyer was on Friday barred from submitting a petition to a Beijing court over the handling of her husband’s case.

Li Wenzu, who earlier this week was blocked from attending her husband’s trial in Tianjin, was prevented from entering the Hongshichun High Court in south Beijing by close to 50 officers.

Li Wenzu, wife of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang who was on trial in Tianjin following his detention in the “709” crackdown, speaks to the media as she protests the detention of her husband, outside the Hongsecun people’s high court in Beijing on December 28, 2018. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP.

Wrapped in a colourful fur-lined coat, Li and several supporters brought a petition calling for accountability in the Tianjin court, which held her husband’s trial behind closed doors citing “state secrets”.

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They also called on the court in Beijing to investigate the Tianjin court’s handling of the case, which they say has dragged on too long.

But uniformed and plainclothes officers formed a circle around Li, moving her away from the courthouse.

“Under these circumstances they wouldn’t let us in… course they wouldn’t let us in because we have never been able to enter in our last 30 attempts,” Li told journalists, adding that she would make another attempt next week.

Li Wenzu (C-short hair), wife of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang who was on trial in Tianjin following his detention in the “709” crackdown, is forced away by security personnel and police officers as she protests against her husband’s detention, outside the Hongsecun People’s high court in Beijing on December 28, 2018. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP.

Wang Quanzhang, 42, who defended political activists and victims of land seizures, disappeared in a 2015 sweep — known as the “709” crackdown — aimed at courtroom critics of Communist authorities.

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After he was charged in January with the “subversion of state power”, Wang was not heard from until his court-assigned lawyer contacted Li on Monday to say his trial would be held in the northern city of Tianjin two days later.

Li was stopped from leaving her Beijing apartment on Wednesday and the trial was closed to the public because of “state secrets”, the court said.

“I am very concerned that throughout the proceedings Wang Quanzhang has not been allowed access to lawyers of his own choosing,” the German human rights commissioner Baerbel Kofler said in a statement.

“Under these circumstances, a fair trial is impossible.”

Chinese police and security personnel surround Li Wenzu, wife of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang who was on trial in Tianjin following his detention in the “709” crackdown, as she shouts “we can be bald or hairless, but the country cannot be lawless” outside the Hongsecun people’s high court in Beijing on December 28, 2018. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP.

Li had in May met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel — a rare opportunity as world leaders often avoid making public statements about human rights during China visits.

Wang will be sentenced at a later, undetermined date.

In Pictures: Security personnel block wife of detained China lawyer Wang Quanzhang from submitting court petition