Human Rights in China (HRIC) strongly condemns the beating of Chinese rights defender and legal advisor Guo Feixiong (also known as Yang Maodong) in prison. Reports of this beating are of particular concern in the lead-up to China’s review by the United Nations Committee Against Torture in November 2008.
On December 28, Guo’s wife, Zhang Qing, visited him at Meizhou Prison in Guangdong Province. After her visit, she reported that on December 18, five days after he was sent to the prison, Guo Feixiong was beaten, apparently by a fellow prisoner. She also reported that Guo’s health appeared much worse than the last time she saw him, and that he was emaciated because he has been on hunger strike since December 13.
Human Rights in China calls on the prison and the local and central authorities to investigate the beating and prosecute any prisoners and guards involved. "As a party to the Convention Against Torture, China is obligated to prevent and investigate acts of torture," Executive Director Sharon Hom said. "China’s reports to the Committee Against Torture have consistently emphasized its willingness to implement that obligation. Now is the time to demonstrate that will."
Guo, who is currently serving a five-year sentence on charges of "illegal business activity," provided legal advice to rights defenders in a number of controversial cases. Guo was convicted and sentenced on November 14.
For more information on Guo Feixiong, see: