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China 9 October 2006

Diplomats asked to intercede on behalf of detained cyber-dissident who is being mistreated

Reporters Without Borders today urged foreign diplomats based in Beijing to raise the case of cyber-dissident Yang Maodong with the Chinese authorities as he has been the victim of mistreatment since his arrest on 14 September. Yang is better known by his pseudonym, Guo Feixiong.

“Yang’s arrest brings the number of cyber-dissidents detained in China to 50,” the press freedom organisation said. “We are dismayed by the attempts of the Chinese police to break the will of government opponents by all means possible. This inhumane treatment carried out in a completely illegal manner is a disgrace of the Chinese judicial system.”

According to his lawyers, Yang has been interrogated for up to 11 hours a day and constantly threatened and insulted. The police also reportedly prevented him for sleeping for seven days and nights in a row. He went on hunger strike as soon as he was arrested. After two weeks, the authorities began feeding him intravenously by force. Despite the mistreatment, he is still refusing to cooperate with the police.

A lawyer, writer and human rights activist who lives in Guangzhou in the southern province of Guangdong, Yang has been charged with “illegal business activities.” According to his lawyers, he faces up to five years in prison or even more if his case is deemed to be “serious.” No date has yet been set for his trial.

Yang was previously imprisoned from October to December last year for “disturbing the peace” after encouraging the population of the village of Taishi (in Guangdong province) to demand the resignation of the village chief for alleged corruption. He was briefly arrested again early this year after going on hunger strike in protest against the beating he had received from thugs in Guangzhou.

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