01/12/2022, 13.09
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The wife of activist Guo Feixiong dies in the US: Beijing prevented him from seeing her

She had been battling colon cancer for a long time. Instead of allowing the dissident to visit her, the authorities arrested him. He has been missing for almost a year. When he was a student, Guo participated in the Tiananmen protests. In detention, he was tortured several times.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The wife of lawyer and human rights activist Guo Feixiong died on Monday in the United States from colon cancer, Human Rights Watch reported.

According to the advocacy group, the Chinese government had repeatedly prevented Guo, a lawyer, from visiting his wife.

About a year ago, 55-year-old Zhang Qing underwent surgery to remove a tumor, followed by chemotherapy.

Guo (whose real name is Yang Maodong) has been missing since 28 January 2021 after security officials at Shanghai airport prevented him from boarding a plane for the United States.

Shortly before, he had published an open letter to the Chinese government asking them to “have empathy for ordinary people” and allow him to leave China to visit his dying wife. To protest against the travel ban, he went on a hunger strike.

The well-known dissident has been accused of endangering national security because of his fight for human rights in China since the Tiananmen protests in 1989, when the Chinese government slaughtered thousands of students demanding freedom and democracy.

Detained a first time in 2006, Guo has spent 11 years in prison, targeted by the authorities for helping residents in a village in Guangdong against a local party boss whom they accused of profiting financially from the illegal sale of their land.

When he called on the government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Guo was sent back to prison in 2013.

In a prophetic statement made in December 2015, he said: “Our movement for freedom and democracy will only grow stronger in the crucible of your repression,” which will speed up the fall of the regime.

After his release from prison in August 2019, the police put him under constant surveillance.

To escape persecution, Guo’s wife fled to the United States in 2009, taking their two children with her.

Zhang repeatedly denounced the torture inflicted on her husband in prison: chained hands and feet to the bed for days, sleep deprivation, and electric shocks to the genitals.

For Chinese Human Rights Defenders, the Chinese government's treatment of the couple is "cruel and inhumane". The human rights organisation urged Beijing to allow Guo to at least attend his wife's funeral.

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