Beijing sentences democracy activist Guo Feixiong to eight years
Accused of "subversion" for promoting a website critical of the Beijing leadership. On the World Forum for Constitutional Democracy, the dissident published articles considered "inflammatory". His sister spoke of a "shameful" sentence because it hit those fighting against "injustice".
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chinese authorities have sentenced long-time pro-human rights activist Guo Feixiong to eight years in prison on charges of "subversion" for promoting a website critical of Beijing's leadership and advocating a country based on "constitutional democracy".
Yang Maoping told Radio Free Asia (Rfa), judges of the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court found 56-year-old brother Yang Maodong - known by the nickname Guo Feixiong - guilty of 'inciting subversion of state powers'.
The reference is to the publication in 2020 of an online portal called the "World Forum for Constitutional Democracy", the sister continued, in which he published and relaunched articles deemed "incendiary". The eight-year sentence is 'a shameful act', because it affects those who fight 'against injustice' or only make 'simple demands'.
In January 2021, police had arrested Guo at Shanghai's Pudong airport while he was trying to board a plane to the United States. The dissident wanted to join his wife Zhang Qing who was ill with cancer and expatriate for treatment; she died early the following year, never to see her husband again. He has long fought for human rights in China, ever since the 1989 Tiananmen protests when the regime massacred thousands of students demanding freedom and democracy.
Arrested for the first time in 2006, Guo spent 11 years in prison; in 2013, the authorities jailed him for calling on the government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In December 2015, he issued a prophecy against the Chinese Communist Party: 'By continuing to condemn democrats and justice seekers,' he said, 'you will only make them stronger, accelerating your downfall'.
The dissident had been released from prison in August 2019, subjected, however, to constant police scrutiny, and during his imprisonment - in which he waged a hunger strike for months that debilitated his physique - he was subjected to heavy torture. To stem the weight loss, the prison authorities force-fed him with a nasal tube.
Commenting on the new sentence, comrade and activist Zhu Chengzhi emphasises that a long prison sentence such as the one imposed on Guo effectively amounts to a 'death sentence' given the deterioration of his health due to the prolonged hunger strike.
"The authorities," he charges, "have imposed the death penalty on him" because the prolonged abstinence from food has caused "enormous damage to his health". Zhu concludes, "I fear that Guo Feixiong will not live to see the day of his release."