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China 6 November 2008

Cyber-dissident Guo Feixiong tortured in detention

Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of Yang Maodong, a cyber-dissident better known by the pen-name of Guo Feixiong, who has been tortured and beaten repeatedly by prison officials, as have some of his fellow inmates.

Sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of 40,000 yuan (4,000 euros) in November 2007 on a charge of illegal business activity, Yang has been held in Meizhou (in the province of Guangdong) since 13 December 2007 without being able to see his lawyer.

“Guo Feixiong has been subject to utterly unacceptable forms of treatment for more than 10 months,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This is a serious violation of international treaties and accords signed by China and shows that the image it wanted to create during the Beijing Olympic Games was just an illusion.”

His wife said Guo, 41, was interrogated and deprived of sleep for 13 days after his transfer to Meizhou. He was also tied to a wooden bed, with his arms and legs in chains, for 42 days, and was regularly given electric shocks.

A writer and human activist, Guo was arrested after organising a meeting in the village of Taishi on 13 September 2005. The authorities claimed that he personally led demonstrations by villagers with the aim of overthrowing the local officials. Initially charged with “illegal business activity,” he was held for 15 months in the northern city of Shenyang before his conviction on a charge of disturbing public order on the basis of information obtained under torture.

Meanwhile, there has been no news of human rights activist Yao Lifa since 31 October, when his wife received an SMS message saying: “Take care of yourself.” Yao lives in Qianjiang (in Hubei province), where he gives legal advice to local residents whose rights are violated by the authorities.

China ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 4 October 1988.

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