Chinese Rights Activist Sentenced to Five Years

November 16, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: November 16, 2007 12:00 am

On November 14, Guo Feixiong, renowned mainland human rights activist, was charged with illegal business operation and sentenced to five years imprisonment and fined 40,000 yuan (approximately US$5,263) in the Tianhe District People's Court of Guangzhou Province.

Guo's wife, Zhang Qing told The Epoch Times , “It's expected, I knew that's what they would do. Today, there were 13 of us in the hearing. I don't know any of them. I assume they are the public security personnel.” “He was sentenced to five-years imprisonment and 40,000 yuan of fine due in 10 days and one-time payment,” said Zhang Qing.

After the judge pronounced the sentence, Guo Feixiong was asked of his opinion. According to Zhang, Guo replied, “I have only one sentence for you; the way you collected the 'evidence' has been publicized for the Chinese democracy movement and I am honored to be part of it.”

Zhang will consult the attorney as to whether or not to appeal.

Guo Feixiong's defense lawyer, Mo Shaoping said, “First of all, I don't think the conviction is correct. I still adhere to our argument as the defense lawyer for Guo Feixiong in spite of the court's ruling. I insist on his innocence.”

“Secondly, the five-year sentence–based on the principles of criminal law for the so-called illegal business operation, it is less than five-year imprisonment in general, and five to 15 years for the serious cases. The inspection authorities categorized him as a serious case according to the sentence. He is sentenced right on this threshold.”

“Thirdly, he has 10 days to appeal, we will see him in Guangzhou in 10 days, and I hope he will appeal. From the legal point of view, if you don't appeal, it means you recognized the first verdict. He (Guo) pleaded not guilty; the appeal is therefore to affirm his position of being innocent. From the perspective of a lawyer, I suggested that he should appeal. ”

Guo Feixiong (real name Yang Maodong), 40-year-old, is a human rights defender well known to mainlanders. He graduated from the Philosophy Department of Shanghai East China Normal University in 1988, and was assigned to work at the Medical College of Wuhan City. In 1991, he resigned his job and went to south Guangdong, and engaged in a variety of occupations. Between 1993 and 2001, he worked as a publisher and freelance writer focusing on defending human rights.

He was imprisoned for more than three months because of his participation in the Taishi village protest incident. During that time, he went on hunger strike for 59 days. On September 14 of 2006, he was detained with the charge of illegal business operation. On September 30, he was once again arrested with the same charge for illegal publication of “Shenyang's Political Earthquake” which exposed the corruption of Shenyang officials.

Guo Feixiong's case was twice “withdrawal for further investigation” due to insufficient evidence provided by the procuratorate. During his detention, Guo experienced torture and violence from the police. It included electric batons and electric shocks of his genitals to extract confessions.

On July 9, the prosecutor requested more time to find additional evidence for Guo Feixiong's trial. By the end of August, the case was once again sent to the Court. On October 12, the court applied to postpone the hearing for another month through the Guangdong Provincial Higher People's Court. He is now detained in the third detention center in Guangzhou City.