Renowned Chinese dissident Huang Qi was sentenced to 12 years on July 29 for allegedly leaking state secrets to foreigners. Recently, Huang’s mother, who is under house arrest, hired a lawyer to take on his case. But the lawyer was suddenly taken away by police on Aug. 5, according to a source who spoke with The Epoch Times on the condition of anonymity.
Huang Qi, 56, is the founder of 64 Tianwang, a news website blocked in mainland China that reports on human rights abuses and protests in the country, focusing on dissidents and petitioners, Falun Gong practitioners and other suppressed religious groups.
Huang had served previous prison terms related to his website, and prior to the court verdict in July, he had been detained for two years. It is one of the harshest sentences that a dissident has received since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
A source familiar with the case told the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times that Huang’s mother, Pu Wenqing, hired a lawyer from Beijing to represent him. The source wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Pu and the attorney, Zhang Lei, was scheduled to meet on Aug. 5 at her home. The source said that when Zhang arrived at Pu’s residential community, a group of men suddenly showed up and began pushing and dragging him around.
Then Pu, who was expecting Zhang that day, came out of her home to see what was happening. As Pu is under house arrest, a guard who monitors her also came along.
The source said that Pu ran over to Zhang and told him, “They (the authorities) have agreed that I can hire an attorney. They are breaking their promise!”
Then policemen from the nearby Yongquan Police Station arrived at the scene and took Zhang away soon after one of the thugs notified them, according to the source.
Several tall and muscular men then forcibly dragged Pu back to her residence.
Zhang seemed to have anticipated danger. Before he left Beijing, he told his friends that if they did not hear from him by 9 p.m. on that day, then he must have run into trouble, the source said.
86-year-old Pu was under house arrest since Dec. 7, 2018 for appealing her son’s case. Because of the tremendous psychological stress, she’s lost her appetite and has difficulty sleeping. She has lost about ten pounds, becoming increasingly skinny.
According to the information source, since Huang Qi was sentenced on July 29, Pu has sent numerous appeal letters to the higher courts in Chongqing and in the central judicial system, but got no response. She did not give up and continued to send appeal letters and to demand the right to hire an attorney for Huang.
At first, the authorities forced Pu to accept the officially designated attorney for Huang’s case. But recently, the authorities allowed her to choose an attorney as long as the attorney provided a valid license (to practice law) and residential ID.
Pu’s heart disease worsened as a result of constant intimidation and harassment from the authorities. In a recent medical examination, doctors suspected that she may have contracted lung cancer. She is therefore very eager to reunite with her son as soon as possible, the source revealed.
Huang had previously suffered beating and torture at the detention center, causing his kidney disease to further deteriorate into the pre-uremic stage.
Several attorneys who tried to defend Huang’s case, including Sui Muqing, Liu Zhengqing and Zhang Zanning, all have had their attorney license revoked by the Chinese authorities.
Epoch Times reporter Hong Ning contributed to this report.