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Wife of Guo Feixiong Appeals to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Regarding His Deteriorating Condition

April 28, 2016

The following is an open letter by Zhang Qing (张青), wife of imprisoned rights advocate Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) (also known as Yang Maodong (杨茂东)), urging the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an investigation into Guo’s condition in Yangchun Prison in Guangdong Province. On April 26, Guo’s sister, Yang Maoping (杨茂平), circulated an account of her visit with Guo that day, providing details about his alarming health condition.

Open Letter from Guo Feixiong’s wife, Zhang Qing, to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

[Translation by Human Rights in China]

April 27, 2016

To Mr. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

I am Zhang Qing (张青), wife of Chinese citizen Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) (Yang Maodong (杨茂东)). I am writing today to strongly urge the UN Human Rights Council to pay attention to the serious human rights violations in Guo Feixiong’s case.

Guo Feixiong is a legal worker and writer, and one of the leaders of China's rights defense movement. Over the years, he has engaged in activities to promote freedom and democracy in China. He has participated in many rights defense activities, including, for example, the Taishi Village protest [2011] in Guangdong Province and the Southern Weekly protest [by its editorial staff against political interference in 2013]. Because of his activism, he became the target of political persecution by the Chinese government. Since 2005, the Chinese government has detained him four times, and sentenced him twice to a total of 11 years in prison. His fourth detention occurred on August 8, 2013, because he supported the Southern Weekly protest, and called for freedom of speech, ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and disclosure of officials’ assets. His case took a long time to come to trial due to unclear facts and insufficient evidence.

He was finally tried and sentenced more than two years after he was first detained, on November 27, 2015. Ten minutes before the announcement of the verdict, the judge added the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” [to the charge for which he was tried, “gathering crowds to disrupt order in public places”], and did not give Guo the opportunity to defend himself or his lawyer the opportunity to mount a defense. The judge convicted Guo of both trumped-up charges, and sentenced him to six years’ imprisonment.

He is now incarcerated in a prison in Yangchun, Guangdong Province.

Guo Feixiong’s sister, Yang Maoping (杨茂平), visited him in prison on April 26, 2016, and he told her:

He had been admitted to the prison hospital on April 7, after suffering a year of intermittent bloody or watery stools. Since arriving in prison, he has also suffered from occasional bleeding in the mouth and throat, and he hemorrhaged on April 19, and he has been unsteady on his feet. Yesterday, when he spoke with Officer Liu in the Prison Management Division, he could barely stand. In the hospital, he was kept with four other people inside a seven-and-a-half square-meter room without windows, for 23 hours a day. When he requested a medical check related to his symptoms, the police watching him said there was nothing they could do. When he asked the doctor, the hospital said this needed Officer Liu’s approval, and Officer Liu did not approve it.

Guo Feixiong’s body has been seriously ravaged.  He suffers from bleeding in multiple places. I believe that his situation is life-threatening, but he is not receiving the medical examination and treatment that he needs. I am very worried. In this situation, I write to urge you and the UN Human Rights Council to make the following efforts to save Guo Feixiong’s life:

  1. Negotiate directly with the Chinese government regarding Guo Feixiong’s situation, so that he can be transferred to a major hospital in Guangzhou to receive a comprehensive physical examination, and an endoscopy, colonoscopy, laryngoscopy, MRI on his lumbar spine, lung CT scan, and blood tests, in order for him to get a timely diagnosis and treatment.
  2. Establish an independent investigation team to investigate the two locations where Guo has been held, the Tianhe District Detention Center in Guangzhou and the Yangchun Prison in Guangdong, to determine whether they meet the Chinese government's requirements for detention facilities, including the per capita detention area, sanitation conditions, and especially food quality and safety.
  3. Conduct an investigation into Officer Liu of the Prison Management Division and associated personnel’s responsibility for dereliction of duty or maltreatment of their detainees.

I am extremely sad to recount the facts of what has happened to my husband Guo Feixiong. Before being taken into custody, he was an energetic man in very good health. But in detention and in prison, he has suffered brutal torture, persecution, and all kinds of maltreatment. He has been jailed for two and a half years in a place where each detainee has only one square-meter of space, with no sun, and no outdoor activities.

The Chinese government uses prison to not only deprive him of his freedom, but also directly damage his health, letting him face life-threatening risks. His request for a medical assessment and treatment was rejected.

Respected High Commissioner and officials of the UN Human Rights Council, please show your concern and make efforts on behalf of Guo Feixiong. Your help can contribute to improving his condition and saving his life.

With gratitude,

Zhang Qing

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