Demand Release of Prisoner of Conscience in China

Target: Wu Yusheng Juzhang, Director of Tianhe District Public Security Sub-branch

Goal: Demand the release of an activist held without being formally arrested

Guo Feixiong, a Chinese human rights defender, was recently detained by police “on suspicion of ‘gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,’” reports Amnesty International. Chinese law states that detainees must be formally arrested within thirty-seven days of their initial detention, and Guo Feixong, despite having been detained for over two months, has yet to be charged with anything. Amnesty International believes Guo is a prisoner of conscience. Sign the petition and tell the Chinese government to release him immediately and unconditionally, and demand that while he is in custody he has guaranteed freedom from torture and granted access to medical care, legal representation, and basic necessities.

Guo Feixiong is the pen name of Yang Maodong, a human rights activist who is part of the New Citizens’ Movement, “a grass roots [sic] movement of citizens calling for greater government transparency and an end to corruption,” Amnesty International reports. Guo has been an active member of China’s human rights movement for years, participating in a variety of events and campaigns, including hunger strikes. He has been detained and tortured before, and in 2009 his wife and two children were granted political asylum in the United States.

Throughout Guo’s current detention, authorities have done their best to isolate him; his sister did not receive notice of his detention until over a week after he was taken into custody, and his lawyers have been denied access to him on at least five occasions, with authorities citing the “serious nature” of Guo’s crime as the reason. Chinese law states that the only time lawyers can be denied access to a client is in the event of crimes “endangering state security” or in cases of “terrorism or a particularly serious crime of bribery.” Guo, who is accused of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” (the maximum sentence for which is five years), does not meet these parameters.

Disapproving of a citizen’s political beliefs is not an acceptable reason for detaining him. Sign the petition and demand that the Chinese government release Guo from custody immediately and unconditionally, and further demand that he be granted basic human rights like safety from torture, access to medical care, and legal representation for the duration of his detention.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director,

I am writing to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Yang Maodong, better known by the pen name Guo Feixiong, who has been held at the Guangzhou City Tianhe District Detention Center without formal charge since August 8, 2013. His detention violates Chinese law and is a disgraceful display of Chinese human rights abuses.

Although Guo was detained on August 8, his sister was not informed of his status until over a week later. Although the law states that prisoners can only be detained for thirty-seven days without being formally charged with a crime, Guo has been detained for over two months without being formally arrested.

Guo has also been denied access to his legal representation on at least five separate occasions, with authorities citing the “serious nature” of his crime as justification for the denial. Guo is accused of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,” a charge which carries a maximum sentence of five years and does not fall within the parameters which justify a denial of legal representation–”endangering state security, terrorism or a particularly serious crime of bribery.”

Guo has been arrested and tortured on previous occasions as a result of his involvement with various political groups, movements, and events. The dissenting views of a citizen are by no means an acceptable motive for his detention, arrest, and/or imprisonment. I therefore demand that Guo Feixiong be released immediately and unconditionally, and that while he remains in custody he is granted every human right, including freedom from torture, access to medical care, and legal representation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: dmytrok via Flickr

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