A dissident artist accused of assaulting police told a court in Beijing that the case was “all fake”, his wife said today.
Wu Yuren denies obstructing public service with violence and says it was officers who assaulted him when he went to a police station to report stolen property last May. His companion that day has said he heard Wu screaming in pain after police dragged him away.
His supporters, who include artist Ai Weiwei, believe his detention and prosecution is retaliation for his activism. The 39-year-old was among a group of artists who marched along a central Beijing street towards Tiananmen Square earlier last year in protest at brutal attacks on them during attempts to demolish their studios.
He also signed Charter 08, the bold call for democratic reforms co-authored by the jailed dissident and Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
Wu’s trial began in November but was adjourned when the judge agreed to a defence request for the unedited version of a video used in evidence against him.
But police now say the original footage was lost when a new surveillance system was installed, Wu’s wife – Karen Patterson – said.
Patterson, a Canadian citizen, said Wu was told to keep quiet after telling the court: “Because you cannot show any concrete evidence on me for the past eight months, then this is all fake” and “To live in China now is a big risk … I have no confidence in the [legal] system.”
She added: “He was not as composed as last time. I think it’s taking a toll on him and he is frustrated. I think he had a lot to say, but they wouldn’t let him say it.
“It’s revolting. It is a travesty he is even in there. They have no evidence on him.”
In a sign of the official sensitivity about the case, around 40 police officers and 25 lower level law enforcement officials surrounded the small courthouse in the outskirts of the capital. A large vehicle with blacked out windows – apparently a surveillance truck – was parked just across the road and a convoy of three vans with blacked-out windows brought Wu to the building.
Dozens of supporters who had gathered outside called out his name as the vehicles drove past.
“They [the police] may be trying to intimidate me and everybody, but I’m not intimidated. I think they are more scared of us than we are of them, even though they are taking pictures of everyone here,” said Patterson.
The hearing concluded today but no date has been set for the verdict and sentencing. The charge carries a sentence of up to three years in jail.
“It’s not like they are going to release him tomorrow,” said Patterson.
One of Wu’s supporters, Cao Junbai, said: “There is no way to say whether this is a fair trial: if they were fair, there would not be a trial at all.”