Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), well-known Chinese human rights activist, was stopped at the Shanghai Pudong Airport on January 28 while en route to the United States to care for his ailing wife. The authorities reportedly cited “suspicion of endangering national security" as the reason. Guo has begun a hunger strike to protest the travel ban. He has not been heard from since 10 p.m.
"The Chinese authorities' deprivation of Guo’s right to leave his own country violates international human rights and humanitarian norms,” said Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China. “Guo Feixiong's plight shows the world yet another vivid portrait of the current human rights situation in China—how the Chinese authorities continue to trample on internationally recognized human rights and basic human dignity."
According to media reports, Guo Feixiong’s wife, Zhang Qing (张青), currently residing in the United States, underwent surgery earlier this month for colon cancer metastasized to the liver, followed by chemotherapy. On January 28, border guards at the Shanghai Pudong Airport barred Guo Feixiong from boarding a flight to the U.S., despite his having a Chinese passport and a visa to enter the U.S.
Guo’s family had long been subjected to sustained harassment by the Chinese authorities as a result of his rights defense activities. In 2009, Zhang left China for the U.S. with their two children, and the family has been separated since. In an open letter to China’s top leaders, including President Xi Jinping, dated January 27, Guo wrote: “My wife is looking forward to my arrival day and night . . . . She gave everything for me, and today is my turn to give everything for her.”
Guo, 54, was a participant in the 1989 Democracy Movement. He is one of the leading advocates of China's New Citizens Movement and Southern Democracy Movement (also called the Southern Street Movement), dedicated to promoting China's constitutional reform. He was imprisoned four times by the authorities for defending the rights of the people and demanding asset transparency of government officials. For his activism, he had spent 11 of the past 15 years in prison.
“In accordance with Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights—that "[e]veryone shall be free to leave any country, including his own”—we urge the Chinese authorities to respect Guo’s right to leave China, and not create another family tragedy,” said Hom.
For more information on Guo Feixiong, please visit: https://www.hrichina.org/en/defenders/guo-feixiong.