Wu Xiaohui, the convicted former chairman of Anbang Insurance, has been unable to meet his lawyers for over a year.
The attorneys’ revelation has raised concerns over Wu’s safety, as protests rage in Hong Kong criticising Beijing’s judicial system, according to a Financial Times report. Around a million people in Hong Kong joined demonstrations slamming an extradition law that would allow the mainland Chinese government to gain custody of suspects in Hong Kong without trial.
While the protests were generally peaceful, there have been occasional outbursts of violence with police and protesters clashing
Wu was convicted in May 2018 of fraud and embezzlement in connection to the massive scandal that embroiled Anbang Insurance Group, eventually leading to its government takeover. Wu was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but his camp lodged an appeal which is currently ongoing.
According to a Weibo post by lawyer Zhou Ze, he was prohibited by authorities to meet his client Wu at Shanghai’s Baoshan Prison on Tuesday.
“After taking photos of our lawyer’s licences and the appeal commission procedure, the prison guards told us that the prison would not receive us and would not arrange a meeting,” Zhou wrote in his post, which was later deleted by internet censors.
When asked about Wu’s condition, Zhou said: “I don’t know. I haven’t seen him in nearly a year.”
The report noted that Wu’s case is unusual, as many imprisoned business executives in China enjoy access to their lawyers, while some were even able to run their businesses despite being behind bars.