Zhang Qing (张青), wife of imprisoned rights activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) (penname of Yang Maodong, (杨茂东)) reveals that Guo, already in failing health, is now on day 11 of a hunger strike. Guo began the hunger strike on May 9 to protest the degrading physical exam performed on him by prison authorities and their threats to post the video of that exam on the Internet.
In an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping (习近平) and Premier Li Keqiang (李克强), Zhang asks Xi and Li to order an investigation into Guo’s abuse in prison, hold the persecutors responsible for the abuse accountable, and insure proper medical treatment for Guo. Zhang is extremely concerned about the grave health impact of the hunger strike and possible forced-feeding to which Guo is being subjected.
In late April, Guo’s sister, Yang Maoping (杨茂平), after visiting Guo in Yangchun Prison in Guangdong, first disclosed Guo’s deteriorating health conditions and that he was being denied proper treatment. After the revelation, Zhang wrote a letter to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, appealing for his help.
On May 4, Guo’s supporters inside China began a 24-hour hunger strike relay that has received the support of 199 person-times to date. Many participants of the relay credit Guo himself, who had organized a hunger strike relay protest in 2006, as inspiration for their acts of civil resistance to support him now.
Below are translated excerpts from the letter (See full translation).
Zhang Qing’s Letter to President Xi Jinping (习近平) and Premier Li Keqiang (李克强)
[English Translation by Human Rights in China]
On May 11, Guo’s sister Yang Maoping visited him in Yangchun Prison, Guangdong (广东阳春监狱). Guo told her that, two days earlier, on May 9, Yangchun prison officials performed a rectal examination against his wishes and videotaped the exam. They also threatened to put the video on the Internet. On the same day, prison officials forcefully shaved Guo’s entire head. He began a hunger strike in protest. He said, “The causes of democracy and constitutionalism in China require blood and sacrifice—if I don’t enter the depths of suffering, who will?” Yang said that when she saw Guo during his hunger strike, he was very weak and was drenched in sweat. Prison authorities requested that Yang visit Guo again in the afternoon to try to persuade him to eat. Yang said, “His body can’t take it [another visit], I won’t visit him in the afternoon to talk to him.”
On the morning of May 12, Yang saw Guo again and tried to persuade him to stop the hunger strike, but he did not agree to it. On May 13, Yang left the prison.
. . . The evil deeds deliberately designed and carried out by Guandong’s Domestic Security and the Yangchun Prison have directly caused Guo Feixiong to hunger strike in protest and caused him both physical and mental devastation, posing even greater danger to his life.
President Xi and Premier Li, the unlawful behavior of Guangdong’s Domestic Security and the Yangchun Prison makes a mockery of the Chinese authorities’ claim to “govern the country by law.” I hope China’s highest leaders will look into Guo Feixiong’s case, hold the perpetrators accountable in accordance with the law, and order the relevant departments to provide Guo Feixiong with effective medical treatment.