Wang Meiyu, a 38 year old democracy activist who called on China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to resign and allow for general elections, died in the end of September 2019 at Hengyang People’s Liberation Army 169 Hospital.
He was detained on 8 July, 2019, after holding a placard outside the Hunan provincial police department calling on President Xi to step down and allow for democratic elections in China. During detention he received 2 visits from a lawyer who said, by the time of his second visit in August, Wang had been transferred to solitary confinement.
His family received a call in the early hours of 23 September, 2019, informing them of his death. But they still don’t know when exactly he died or what was the cause of death.
His wife, Cao Shuxia, was called to identify the body, but the police officers wouldn’t let her take her cell phone in with her or even get close to the body. According to her, the body was unrecognizable.
She also said her husband’s death was a huge blow for the family, specially their 2 children, and that the couple had already lost their jobs as a result of Wang’s activism.
Wang Meiyu had been receiving threats from the state security police since last year when he held a placard outside the gates of the Hengyang Normal University in Hunan asking for China’s President and Premier resignation.
According to a post Wang wrote on the social media platform WeChat in November 2018, he was approached by 5 state security police officers who accused him of “attacking our national leaders” and urged him to write a letter of repentance and guarantee of future good behaviour. He also said he was tortured for 3 nights with dripping water and electric batons.
An acquaintance of Wang reported the authorities had already been in touch to warn off anyone thinking of showing support to the family, or speaking on Wang’s behalf.