Posts Tagged ‘Guo Feixiong’

Runners up for Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders 2016 announced

May 11, 2016

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped has announced that the finalists for its 2016 award are human rights defenders from Azerbaijan, Burma/Myanmar, Colombia, Honduras, Palestine, and Tanzania. For more information on the annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Riskhttp://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/front-line-defenders-award.

 

 

The 6 finalists for 2016 are Read the rest of this entry »

Remember: 2nd anniversary of the death of Cao Shunli

March 15, 2016

Yesterday, 14 March 2016 was the second anniversary of the death of Cao Shunli, a Chinese human rights defender who was detained and denied adequate medical treatment in police custody for five months, before dying in a military hospital in Beijing in 2014. This happened shortly after she was shortlisted for the Martin Ennals Award in that year. [see also https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/cao-shunli-a-profile-and-new-award-in-her-name/]. Has the situation improved…? Read the rest of this entry »

Front Line award winner Guo Feixiong sentenced to six years in prison

November 29, 2015

Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - croppedOn 27 November 2015, Mr Guo Feixiong was sentenced to six years in prison by the Tianhe District People’s Court in Guangzhou, China. Two other human rights defenders, Liu Yuandong and Sun Desheng, received three and two and a half year sentences respectively. In September, Guo Feixiong (pen name of Yang Madding) was awarded the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/2015-front-line-defenders-award-to-chinese-guo-feixiong-yang-maodong/].

Guo Feixiong was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of “gathering crowds to disturb social order” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. The latter charge was reportedly added by the judge at the sentencing and therefore one that Guo Feixiong’s lawyers had no opportunity to defend him against, and which resulted in two years being added to his sentence. Liu Yuandong was sentenced to three years, while Sun Desheng was sentenced to two and a half years, both on charges of “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”.

Since his detention in 2013, Guo Feixiong has reportedly been held in a 30 sq metre cell with 30 other detainees. Furthermore, he has been denied permission to go outside or exercise in the prison yard since his initial detention and has alleged ill-treatment by the prison guards. According to his lawyer, Mr Zhang Lei, Guo Feixiong’s health has suffered greatly as a result. It has also been reported that Sun Desheng had had his hands cuffed and legs shackled for long periods after his detention.

 

 

2015 Front Line Defenders Award to Chinese Guo Feixiong (Yang Maodong)

September 12, 2015

On Friday 11 September the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk was presented to imprisoned Chinese Human Rights Defender  Guo Feixiong in Dublin City Hall. Irish author and playwright Sebastian Barry presented the award to Guo’s wife, Zhang Qing, and daughter, Yang Tianjiao (Sara), at the award co-presented by the Al-Jazeera Media Network. Guo has been held in Guangzhou’s Tianhe Detention Center for over 750 days, where is currently awaiting sentencing. Sebastian Barry said:“For human rights defenders the struggle is not just to implement rules and regulations and theoretical international standards. It is is about the right to raise your voice without the fear of arbitrary violence, whether by the state or others. Guo Feixiong has defended farmers illegally evicted from their land, Falun Gong practitioners persecuted for their beliefs and journalists who dared to speak out. He is a symbol of the endurance of the human spirit, of the will to survive and of the human need for the free air of ideas, to make life worth living. He is a worthy recipient of the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award.”
Guo Feixiong (pen name of Yang Maodong) is a leading figure in the movement for human rights China – a struggle fraught with danger for human rights defenders seeking civil, political, economic and social rights; accountability; transparency; and an end to corruption. After more than two years in detention, Guo Feixiong’s lawyers now report that during their most recent meeting, his memory, speech, and mental awareness all showed signs of damage.Last week, a coalition of Chinese human rights activists writing at China Change called his detention “a deliberate effort to harm Guo Feixiong and kill him slowly.”Accepting the Award on behalf of her husband, Zhang Qing said:“Guo Feixiong is a faithful idealist. Although he has experienced a wide range of political persecution by the Chinese government including, being sentenced to four prison terms, being the target of a witch hunt, and enduring countless brutal and evil tortures from the Chinese government he still holds a peaceful and pure heart. He shows enduring strength and courage to pursue rights, equality and justice peacefully. We are proud of Guo Feixiong and all the other human rights defenders and lawyers working to the same end in China”.

for info on the finalists: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/finalists-for-the-2015-front-line-defenders-award-announced/

– See more at: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/29586#sthash.AZYZfOz1.dpufnders Award Presented to Chinese HRD Guo Feixiong | Front Line Defenders

Stop dancing with dictators, says Chinese human rights defender Teng Biao

March 17, 2015

‘Chinese leaders are not known for tolerating dissent, but Xi Jinping is less tolerant than his predecessors.’  Photograph: EPA/WU HONG

‘ Xi Jinping, even less tolerant than his predecessors.’ Photograph: EPA/WU HONG

Human rights defender Teng Biao, a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School, President of China Against the Death Penalty, and Co-founder of the Open Constitution Initiative, is in Ireland as the guest of Front Line Defenders. In a post of 10 March 2015, he depicts the grim situation of human rights defenders in China since President Xi took office. ‘Chinese human rights defenders are facing the most severe crackdown since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989’ he statesThe hard-hitting piece [“Over 1,000 human rights activists were detained since President Xi took office“] is interesting enough to provide in full:

“I remember Cao Shunli’s speech during her trial. She was a brave activist who fought for land rights, documented cases of human rights abuse and participated in the United Nations human rights system.Tang Jingling, a lawyer in Guangzhou, is a prominent leader of the non-violent civil disobedience movement.

Ilham Tohti is a Uighur professor who set up a website to promote the rights of the muslim Uighur people. He advocated mutual understanding and reconciliation between Han Chinese and the Uighurs.

Pu Zhiqiang and Xu Zhiyong are both well known lawyers who have played a key role in abolishing the laws allowing extrajudicial detentions, in breach of China’s own constitution. Xu also founded an NGO called the Open Constitution Initiative, focusing on religious freedom and free speech. The organisation worked on the issues of forced eviction, forced abortion and ensuring transparency in local elections.

Guo Feixiong, Liu Ping, Ding Jiaxi, Zhao Changqing, all took an important part in the New Citizens Movement which has campaigned for constitutional government and for Communist Party officials to declare their assets.

Cao Shunli was arrested on her way to a human rights training in Geneva and died in custody as a result of torture, on March 14th, 2014. All the others are now in jail.

Chinese leaders are not known for tolerating dissent, but Xi Jinping is less tolerant than his predecessors. Over a thousand human rights activists have been detained since Xi took office, and Chinese human rights defenders are facing the most severe crackdown since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989. Xi’s suppression is widespread, targeting not just those at the forefront of the human rights struggle in China, but also faith groups, internet users, universities, and the media. Many members of China’s budding civil society, who have avoided politically risky issues so far, are now also being jailed.

In the past, those who crossed a red line, who stood out, took to the street, or who engaged in organised actions were the main targets of the crackdown. Now, the dragnet is much wider and is being used against anyone who demonstrates. At least 10 feminist activists were detained last week as they planned to stage a small protest against sexual harassment on public transport, which is a common occurrence in China. The government seems to be targeting all the nodes that connect civil society, picking off emerging civil society leaders, and destroying the capacity for civil resistance.

It seems that the Communist Party of China has never been stronger or more confident: China is the second largest economy in the world. China is exerting more influence on the international stage. There is no viable opposition, and the Chinese model is more effective than western democracies that have been bogged down by financial crises and intractable social problems. But as David Shambaugh pointed out in his recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “A more secure and confident government would not institute such a severe crackdown. It is a symptom of the party leadership’s deep anxiety and insecurity.”

For the Communist Party of China, “governing the country according to law” does not mean the “rule of law” as you and I understand it. It is first and foremost a tool to further control society, as the Party understands perfectly well that the rule of law, freedom of information, religious freedom, property rights, and other basic features of democratic governance would mean the demise of the Party’s rule, as Freedom House pointed out in its recent report.

Chinese civil society, fragile as it is, owes its emergence to the dedication and sacrifice of many human rights defenders. Every day, we receive information from all over the country about human rights defenders being detained, disappeared, tortured, or sentenced. But despite the perilous journey, more and more Chinese people – lawyers and journalists, farmers and bloggers, poor and rich, young and old, males and females – have stepped up to join the human rights movement, driven by their dignity, belief in freedom, and the desire to make a difference in our time of great change.

These Orwellian rulers can only do so much damage to the spirit of the people. A few are silenced but many more are inspired by a combination of international and domestic recognition, the admiration of “fellow travellers”, a sense of mission, and occasional victories in human rights cases. I speak from experience. I have been banned from teaching, fired from my job, disbarred, disappeared, detained and tortured for my human rights work since 2003, but I have never felt that I should stop. I believe it is my responsibility to fight for freedom for the next generation, for the dream that my children can live in a free and democratic country. This dream is shared by more and more Chinese people, even at this unlikely moment when the night seems the darkest.

Most Beijing watchers in the west misunderstand Beijing. Every time Beijing has a new slogan like “rule by law” or “harmonious society,” they embrace it as a sign of change, ignoring all the evil the Communist Party of China has been perpetrating. They fail to see where the real hope lies and remain fixated on the ruling class. Their selective blindness has hindered the West’s understanding of the real state of affairs in today’s China. If we human beings can learn anything from modern history, it is that it is time for the West to stop wishful thinking, to stop dancing with dictators, and to support human rights activists who are challenging the one-party dictatorship in China. History will judge the crimes committed by dictators against universal values, and it will also remember those Western governments who adopted short-sighted policies of appeasement in dealing with autocratic regimes and favouring trade over human rights.”

Over 1,000 human rights activists were detained since President Xi took office.

Finalists for the 2015 Front Line Defenders award announced

March 7, 2015

Jury announces the Finalists for the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award

Jury announces the Finalists for the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award

On Wednesday 4 March the Jury for the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk announced the 5 finalists for this year, all of whom are either in jail, in hiding or face the threat of jail because of their peaceful work defending the rights of others:

Juan Carlos Flores Solís Mexico, an environmental rights campaigner, was recently released from prison, but has a charge pending, because he led the opposition of local peasant and indigenous communities to the construction of a gas pipeline on their land near an active volcano.

Diane Marie Rodríguez Zambrano Ecuador, LGBTI rights activist and the first trans woman to stand for public office in Ecuador is currently living in a safe house following death threats because of her work promoting the rights of the transgender community.

Guo Feixiong a Chinese legal activist, also known has Yang Maodong, has been repeatedly jailed and brutally tortured for challenging corruption, defending the rights of human rights defenders, minority groups and small farmers whose land had been confiscated. He is currently in prison awaiting sentencing.

Rasul Jafarov one of the most prominent HRDs in Azerbaijan, was arrested on bogus charges of “ illegal enterprise, tax evasion, and abuse of official power. A lawyer by profession, Rasul Jafarov is Head of the Human Rights Club and Coordinator of the Art for Democracy campaign, which has launched several campaigns against politically-motivated imprisonment, including the Sing for Democracy campaign which took place in the run-up to the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2012. His is still in detention and his trial is ongoing.

Yara Sallam –  Egypt is a human rights lawyer with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).  On 21 June 2014, she was arrested with other protesters during a peaceful demonstration against the controversial “Protest Law”. On 29 October 2014, Yara, and a number of other activists, were convicted on these charges, despite the absence of credible evidence and clear inconsistencies in police reports of the event. She was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment,three years’ police monitoring and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian Pounds (approx. €1,098). This sentence was later reduced on appeal to two years’ imprisonment, two years’ monitoring and no fine.

The winner will be announced at an event in Dublin’s City Hall on 1 May.

via Finalists for the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk | Front Line.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders: “None of us is safe, and any one of us could be next”

October 4, 2013

Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou are continuing to hold human rights lawyer Yang Maodong, better known as Guo Feixiong,  without criminal activists said on 3 October. He was criminally detained on 8 August on charges of “incitement to disturb public order,” after being involved in anti-censorship and anti-corruption protests. “The authorities have made one arrest after the other in recent months, and this is still going on,” said Beijing-based fellow activist and poet Wang Zang, Read the rest of this entry »

Detention of human rights defender Yang Maodong in China

August 20, 2013

On 17 August 2013, it emerged that Guangzhou-based human rights defender Mr Yang Maodong, better known by his pen name Guo Feixiong, had been detained on charges of “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place”. Although in detention since 8 August 2013, Yang Maodong’s family were only notified by the police of his arrest on 17 August [!]. Yang Maodong is a well known figure in China‘s rights defence movement Read the rest of this entry »