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Case Update: Case Moves Ahead Against Rights Defender Guo Feixiong

January 8, 2007

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that the case of "illegal business activity" against rights defender Guo Feixiong (also known as Yang Maodong) has been referred to the Guangzhou Procuratorate after a second investigation.

Guo Feixiong, who provided legal advice in a number of controversial rights defense cases, was detained on September 14, 2006, and formally arrested on September 30, 2006 on suspicion of "illegal business activity." No details have as yet been made public. The Guangzhou Public Security Bureau (PSB) referred the case to the Guangzhou Municipal Procuratorate on October 19, but the procuratorate sent the case back to the PSB on October 28 for further investigation. Sources say that on January 6, 2007, Guo's wife, Zhang Qing, received a letter from him in prison stating that on December 28, 2006, the procuratorate had informed him that it had received a "statement of investigation" from the PSB, and that Guo could seek legal counsel.

Guo Feixiong was a key legal advisor to villagers in Taishi Village, Guangdong Province, who in 2005 drew worldwide attention with their move to recall the director of their village committee over alleged corruption. As a result of his role in the controversy, Guo was detained for more than three months, during which he went on hunger strike. Following his release, Guo was beaten by public security officers on three occasions in February, March and August of 2006.

At the time of his detention, the police searched his home and seized two laptop computers and a desktop computer, as well as the computer used by Guo's wife. Police also seized a cellular telephone, digital video and audio tapes, and a number of books and documents. Guo's wife, Zhang Qing, was also detained for questioning and subjected to repeated body searches, and police continued to monitor her following her release.

Guo's lawyers, Mo Shaoping and Hu Xiao, were allowed to visit Guo at the Guangzhou Municipal Detention Center on September 29, 2006. According to HRIC's sources, Guo told his lawyers that following his detention, he was deprived of sleep for several days while repeatedly being subjected to interrogation. When he began refusing food and water in protest, detention center personnel inserted a feeding tube against his wishes. Guo said he wrote several letters of complaint to the procuratorate, but detention center officials have refused to deliver them.

Zhang Qing has been dismissed from her job because of her husband, and is supporting herself and her two children (ages nine and five) as best as she can through freelance writing.

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