Police in eastern China have detained two people after they tried to visit a woman who had been chained and locked in a hut in freezing temperatures by her husband. A Beijing-based lawyer, who could not speak on the record but had been informed about the case, confirmed that two women were detained at the weekend in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, and said that their families were seeking legal help. Others who had been following the plight of the woman in Xuzhou said that the pair were held by police on Sunday night on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – a catch-all charge often used to stifle dissent. Their identities have not been confirmed. Calls to Xuzhou police were not answered. There has been nationwide uproar after a video showing a woman chained up in a hut in Xuzhou last month went viral on Chinese social media. She was found to be a trafficked woman who had been forced to marry and have eight children, and was said to have been sometimes locked up and chained by her husband since last June after – according to the authorities – she showed signs of mental illness. Local authorities initially denied that the woman was a victim, before last week arresting her husband and two accomplices following growing calls from the public to investigate the possibility of illegal detention and human trafficking . Social media posts by the two women detained by police had said that they had gone to Xuzhou hoping to visit the woman at a psychiatric hospital. “Sister, the world has not turned its back on you,” they wrote on Weibo , China’s equivalent of Twitter. “We are coming for you.” One of the two wrote on her Weibo account, under the name Wuyigucheng: “Women have the power to fight against sexual assault/harassment by men, women help women.” They wrote slogans in red on their cars – as well as posts on Weibo, some of which were censored – accusing the husband of rape and profiting from government poverty subsidies. Police forced them to remove the car slogans. They made repeated attempts to visit the woman in hospital, but were refused entry by staff. The pair continued to speak out about the plight of the woman until Friday, when their last Weibo post showed them at a police station. They have not been contactable since.