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China: political commentator detained for “subversion”

China: political commentator detained for “subversion”
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the release of Guo Feixiong, a long-time defender of press freedom in China, who last week was formally accused of ‘inciting subversion of state power’ after over one month in detention.

Chinese political commentator and human rights lawyer Yang Maodong, better known under the pen name Guo Feixiong, was formally accused of ‘inciting subversion of state power’ on 12th January 2022 after over one month in detention in the city of Guangzhou (southern China). Guo had not been heard from since 5th December 2021, after he sent out a message to his close friends stating that he would be taken into custody.

Guo Feixiong, 55, has previously been imprisoned from 2006 to 2011 for alleged ‘illegal business activity’ following the publication a book titled Shenyang Political Earthquake, in which he investigated government corruption in the Liaoning province, and from 2013 to 2019 for ‘gathering crowds to disturb social order’ after he gave a speech in support of press freedom at a local newspaper’s anti-censorship protest. While in prison, Guo was subjected to torture including electric shocks.

By arresting Guo Feixiong again, after already detaining him for 11 years in the past, the Chinese regime shows its determination to silence one of the most vocal defenders of press freedom in China at all costs”, says the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East-Asia bureau head, Cédric Alviani, who urges the international community to build up pressure on Beijing to “secure Guo’s release alongside all other journalists and press freedom defenders detained in China.”

On 28th January 2021, Guo Feixiong tried to leave China for the United States to visit his wife Zhang Qing, who was terminally ill, but he was denied boarding. Zhang passed away early this month, before she could reunite with her husband.

RSF has recently published an unprecedented investigative report entitled ‘The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China’, which reveals the previously unheard-of campaign of repression led by Beijing against journalism and the right to information worldwide.

China, ranked 177th out of 180 in the 2021 RSF World Press Freedom Index, is the world’s largest captor of journalists with at least 128 detained.

Source – https://rsf.org/en/news/china-political-commentator-detained-subversion



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