BEIJING – Chinese authorities published on Thursday a video showing one of the country’s most prominent human rights lawyers supposedly in good health at a detention center, thereby dismissing claims of him having been tortured.
In the footage published on the Chinese social networking site Weibo, a serious Jiang Tianyong can be seen walking up and down a corridor at an unknown location in the country.
A statement at the start of the video said that recently there had been online rumors that Jiang was tortured when he was in custody and that he was not even able to stand up.
Last week, Jiang’s wife, Jin Bianling, tweeted that a government official told her that Jiang was being tortured and could not walk.
She is scheduled to address the United States Congress later on Thursday, as the US is where Jiang wants to migrate to in order to avoid Chinese government retaliation.
In the statement, police stated that the wounds on Jiang’s feet that his wife spoke of were old, had been treated and were already healed.
They claimed the video had been filmed on May 17, and that, because he could be seen exercising and walking normally, his feet could no longer be injured.
However, nonprofits such as Amnesty International said they believed the video’s date could not be verified and criticized the regime’s attitude.
“If Chinese authorities allow Jiang Tianyong regular access to a lawyer of his own choice, they do not need to do so much to defend themselves,” AI investigator in Hong Kong Patrick Poon told EFE.
“The authorities’ move (to show the video) just makes Jiang Tianyong’s family even more worried about his safety,” Poon added.
Jiang continues to be in custody over subversion charges, and authorities assured that they had guaranteed his rights, though his friends and family maintain that he was not allowed to contact a lawyer.
Jiang, who made public some of the regime’s most controversial cases, went missing in late 2016 and police did not confirm his arrest until months later though they did not specify where he was being kept, as per a Chinese law usually used against dissidents and activists.
Several cases have recently come to light of detained lawyers who specialized in sensitive matters being tortured, something that has generated great concern among human rights activists.