A Chinese Christian human rights lawyer has been returned home in a shocking state of mental disturbance after 18 months in custody.

Li Chunfu was one of more than 300 lawyers rounded up by the Chinese government in July 2015.

When he was returned home to his wife on 12 Jan., the man who confronted her was unrecognisable.

“Li’s body was emaciated, his complexion wan, his eyes lifeless — like he’d just aged to a 60-year-old-man,” reports Chinachange.org.

But even more alarmingly, the website describes how he would not even enter his home.

“When [his wife] tried to pull him in by the hand, he was terrified and pulled away,” it reports. “Relatives who lived nearby heard that he’d been dropped off and rushed over, but rather than greet them Li became agitated and upset, jumping up and pushing them away, yelling, ‘Get out of here! Danger!’ Friends and family could do nothing but back away and sit at a distance from him.”

He is reportedly still in a state of “terror and confusion”. Once, when he saw his wife making a phone call, he grabbed her round the neck and shouted: “Who are you calling? You want to harm me!”

Human Rights Watch says the Chinese government “owes” Li and his family answers: “why Li was detained, what happened to him in custody, and who was responsible for his mistreatment.

“More than that, it has a legal obligation to pay for his medical care and rehabilitation and prosecute those responsible. Beijing will have zero credibility on the rule of law both at home and abroad so long as individuals are tortured with impunity. Li will likely never be the same after this horrific experience – and neither should Beijing.”