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The Case of Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) (penname of Yang Maodong (杨茂东))

April 26, 2016

Black-hooding, tight handcuffing and leg shackling, no exposure to fresh air (~2014–November 2015)



Guo Feixiong , 49, is a well-known writer, self-taught legal defender, and outspoken advocate for asset transparency.

In January 2013, Guo protested in front of the Southern Weekend magazine in support of a strike by the magazine’s editorial staff against editorial interference by Party censors. He was detained on August 8, 2013, in connection with his alleged roles in organizing street actions in January 2013 and planning “raising signs in the street” in eight cities that year, including Wuhan, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen to call for asset transparency. He was formally arrested on September 14, on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Guo was tried, along with fellow activist Sun Desheng (孙德胜), on November 28, 2014 in the Guangzhou Municipal Tianhe District People’s Court in a proceeding lasting nearly 18 hours. On November 27, 2015, Guo was convicted of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” as well as “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and was sentenced to six years in prison.

In June 2015, Guo filed a complaint against the Tianhe Detention Center for subjecting detainees, including him, to daily strip searches, as well as a state compensation claim for the severe physical abuse he received from bailiffs when they escorted him to a pretrial hearing and two court hearings. In August 2015, one of Guo’s lawyers, Li Jinxing, met with Guo and reported that he looked awful—he had not been let outside for fresh air, sun light, or exercise during his entire detention period. Li believed that Guo was suffering psychologically. By late October 2015 when Li visited Guo again, Li calculated that Guo had spent more than 800 days in detention without fresh air or sunshine.

Previously, Guo, was sentenced to five years in prison in November 2007, and fined RMB 40,000 for “illegal business activity,” in connection with his 2001 publication of Shenyang Political Earthquake, a book about a political scandal in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. Guo was released in September 2011, and afterwards was subjected to heavy surveillance and regular questioning about his activities.



Periods and locations of torture/maltreatment suffered:

  • August 1, September 12, and November 28, 2014, when being escorted from Tianhe District Detention Center to Guangzhou Municipal Tianhe District People’s Court
  • March 25, 2015 and April 28, 2015, Tianhe District Detention Center


Physical torture/maltreatment

August 1, September 12, and November 28, 2014

(As detailed by Guo in a state compensation claim dated June 23, 2015.)

  • While being escorted from the Tianhe Detention Center to the Tianhe District People’s Court for the pretrial meeting, first-instance trial, and resumed first-instance trial, Guo’s head was covered with a black hood, his wrists were cuffed behind his back, and his legs were shackled.
  • The handcuffs and leg shackles were deliberately tightened, cutting into his flesh and leaving deep marks and causing numbness; by June 2015, he was still feeling numbness and had partial paralysis in his left ankle and deep marks in his hands and feet.
  • He wrote in his state compensation claim: “This physical—and especially psychological—torment has brought me great mental suffering. You may kill a fighter but not dishonor him.” (这些肉体尤其是精神折磨,的确给我造成了巨大的精神痛苦。士可杀不可辱……)


March 25 and April 28, 2015

(As reported by Guo in a meeting with his lawyer, Li Jinxing, on April 2, 2015 and in a complaint he filed against Tianhe Detention Center in Guangzhou on June 23, 2015.)

  • Guo was subjected to strip searches, a practice that the detention center personnel resumed after having stopped it for a period following a complaint that Guo had filed with the detention center authorities.


August 8, 2013-August 7, 2015

(As reported by Guo’s lawyers, Zhang Lei and Li Jinxing on August 7, 2015)

  • Guo was held with 30 other detainees in one cell, which provided each person with only one square meter of space.
  • Guo had not been let outside for fresh air since he was first detained on August 7, 2013, totaling 802 days.
  • Guo’s speech, memory and physical health appeared noticeably impaired.