According to informed sources, rights activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) met with lawyer Chen Guangwu (陈光武) on November 14, the first such meeting permitted Guo since his detention on August 8. Guo was officially arrested on September 12 and is accused of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.”
In the meeting, Guo confirmed to Chen that he was on a hunger strike from August 8 to September 2, for a total of 25 days. Chen reportedly said that Guo looked haggard, and his reactions were slow, vastly different from his previously quick-witted and talkative self. The meeting took place in the Tianhe Detention Center in Guangzhou, where Guo is being held.
Sui Muqing, one of Guo’s lawyers, said in a recent tweet that he received information indicating that the authorities are basing their criminal charge against Guo on his leading role in organizing two groups of activities this year: the January street protest in Guangzhou in support of the editorial staff of Southern Weekend against editorial interference by the Party authorities; and a series of street protests in April in eight cities—including Wuhan, Changsha, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen—in which protestors raised banners demanding disclosure of officials’ assets and the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China signed in 1998.
Background on Guo Feixiong
Guo Feixiong is the penname of Yang Maodong (杨茂东). A long-time rights advocate, Guo is among dozens of rights activists and defenders who have been taken into custody in 2013 in an intensified crackdown on those calling for greater government transparency and an end to corruption. Those detained include Xu Zhiyong (许志永), a proponent of the New Citizens’ Movement.
Guo is a writer, activist, and self-taught legal defender, who has written a number of articles and published books on China’s history, leadership, and social issues. He has suffered on-going harassment from the authorities, for articles he wrote in support of the well-known rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟).
Guo was formally arrested in September 2006 on the charge of “illegal business activity” (非法经营) in connection with his 2001 publication of Shenyang Political Earthquake (沈阳政坛地震), a book he edited about a political scandal in Shenyang, Liaoning province. He was convicted in November 2007, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined 40,000 yuan.
After his release in September 2011, Guo was subject to constant surveillance and regularly summoned and questioned about his activities. Despite these harassments, Guo remained active in the rights defense community. In 2012, he participated in the Wukan municipal elections; investigations into the suspicious death of rights defender Li Wangyang (李旺阳); and a signature campaign calling for disclosure of officials’ assets initiated by Liu Ping (刘萍), the former independent elections candidate who was tried in October 2013 on charges of “illegal assembly,” “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,” and “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement.”
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