Her husband, avant-garde artist Wu Yuren, is now awaiting trial and could spend up to three years in jail after accompanying his friend to the police station in Beijing’s Chaoyang district on May 31.
Ms. Patterson has seen her husband only once since that date. When she went to the police station the next morning to find out what had happened to him, Mr. Wu yelled to her from an open window that he’d been assaulted. A police officer slammed the window shut before he could say anything else. The 39-year-old Mr. Wu later told a lawyer he had been dragged into a room by four or five police officers – his shirt pulled over his head so he couldn’t identify them – taunted and beaten.
The police version of events, according to Ms. Patterson, is that it was Mr. Wu who attacked police after they took his cellphone away. Ms. Patterson said Mr. Wu paid for and received an X-ray after his encounter with the police that could provide evidence of what really happened, but the results have not been released to the family or its lawyers. Chaoyang district police have refused to comment on the case.
Ms. Patterson believes the bizarre chain of events that has landed her husband in jail stems from a bold public demonstration he led earlier this year through the centre of Beijing.