Guangdong-based rights activist and writer Guo Feixiong, also known as Yang Maodong, was released from the Meizhou Prison in Guangdong Province on September 13, 2011, after serving a five-year sentence on conviction of "illegal business activity."
Guo told Human Rights in China (HRIC): "I am still the same person as five years ago. No amount of 'special treatment' [in prison] would make me more radical or weaken me. My conviction in defending the rights of people has not changed in the slightest."
He is thankful to those in China and overseas who have shown their concern for him and his family over the past five years. "I will never forget the help they gave me," Guo said.
Before his imprisonment, Guo had worked as a legal advisor with the Beijing Zhisheng Law Firm and, in 2005, helped the villagers of Taishi in Guangdong to remove their corrupt village chief. In September 2006, he was detained for "illegal business activity" and was held for 15 months before being tried in November 2007. In addition to the prison term, Guo was fined 40,000 yuan.
His wife Zhang Qing, who currently lives in the United States, told HRIC that Guo's conviction was purely "a product of torture." She said that, lacking evidence and in order to obtain a confession, "the Guangzhou and Shenyang police tortured him by using abominable measures."
During his detention Guo was subjected to many acts of torture, including being:
- Interrogated for 13 consecutive days and nights without sleep,
- Tied down to a wooden bed for 42 days with his arms and legs shackled, and
- Hung from the ceiling by his arms and legs while the police electrocuted his genitals with a high voltage baton.
When he was transferred to Meizhou Prison in December 2007, Guo was brutally beaten by an inmate while 200 others watched. He went on hunger strike several times to protest his abuse.
His ordeal has seriously damaged his health and left him frail. But he said: "I don't care who did what to me in the past.... I want to work hard to help bring about tolerance and reconciliation.... I am filled with optimism for the future."
For more information on Guo Feixiong, see:
- "Rights Defender Subjected to Torture in Prison is Denied Access to Lawyer," November 3, 2008
- "HRIC September Take Action: Put an End to Torture in China," September 10, 2008
- "About the Individual: Guo Feixiong," September 2, 2008
- "Spotlight: Letter to Human Rights in China about Recent Developments with Guo Feixiong," September 2, 2008
- "Take Action for Guo Feixiong," September 2, 2008
- "Children of Rights Defender Guo Feixiong Barred from School Enrollment," June 30, 2008
- "HRIC Condemns Official Interference in Access to Justice in Rights Defense Cases: Hu Jia, Guo Feixiong," April 21, 2008
- "Guo Feixiong's Wife Issues Statement on the Decision Not to Appeal," November 27, 2007
- "HRIC Condemns Abuse and Torture of Chinese Legal Advisor," December 31, 2007
- "Rights Defender Guo Feixiong Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison," November 14, 2007
- "Wife Appeals for Guo Feixiong's Release," September 14, 2007
- "Further Investigation Delays Guo Feixiong Verdict," July 26, 2007
- "Guo Feixiong Appeals to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture," June 5, 2007
- "Rights Defender Guo Feixiong's Trial Date Set," May 21, 2007
- "Rights Defender Guo Feixiong Maintains Innocence, Is Formally Indicted," May 15, 2007
- "Guo Feixiong Transferred Again Pending Trial," April 2, 2007
- "Guo Feixiong's Case Delayed, Transferred," January 22, 2007
- "Guo Feixiong Tortured, Sister and Brother Harassed," January 16, 2007