Human Rights in China has learned that activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), also known as Yang Maodong (杨茂东), is under criminal detention in Guangzhou on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.”
Guo, a long-time rights advocate, is among dozens of rights activists and defenders who have been taken into custody in recent months 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 vocal supporter of those calling for disclosure of officials’ assets. In March, he helped organize a signature campaign to urge the National People’s Congress to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998. Guo also supported the January 2013 protest by the staff of Southern Weekly against political interference in editorial matters.
According to a notice from the Tianhe District Sub-branch of the Public Security Bureau in Guangzhou, which Guo’s sister Yang Maoping (杨茂平) received on August 17, 2013, Guo has been detained since August 8, 2013, and is being held at the Tianhe District Detention Center.
Background on Guo Feixiong (a.k.a. Yang Maodong)
Guo Feixiong 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 was previously sentenced to five years in prison, and suffered on-going harassment from the authorities, for articles he wrote in support of the well- known rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng.
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 that discussed a political scandal in Shenyang, Liaoning province. He was convicted in November 2007, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined 40,000 yuan.
Since his release in September 2011, Guo was subject to unrelenting surveillance and regularly seized or summoned and questioned about his activities. He nonetheless remains an active member of the human rights community, and has participated in key recent events such as the Wukan elections in 2012; investigations surrounding the death of Li Wangyang; and a signature campaign for independent candidate, Liu Ping, an advocate of the disclosure of officials’ assets who has been indicted on charges of "inciting subversion of state power.”
For more information on Guo Feixiong, see: