Jailed Activist's Children Rejected by Schools

By Zhang Min, Radio Free Asia
June 30, 2008 Updated: June 30, 2008

CHINA—Recently, Human rights defender Guo Feixiong's daughter and son were rejected for admission by the public schools. Guo's wife said that in the past, the police had threatened that her children would not be able to attend school.

Guo's wife Zhang Qing, applied for admission to an elementary school and a middle school for her son Yang Tiance, and daughter Yang Tianjiao, respectively. Yet, both requests were turned down by school administrators. Ms. Zhang is making an urgent appeal to the public to help her children into school.

Zhang Qing said in an RFA interview conducted on June 25, “Yesterday I was shocked to learn that Yang Tianjiao was rejected [by the school authorities]. I was really shocked and this is mind-boggling. I think this requires immediate attention. Last year Yang Tiance was after all still little, so basically I was able to handle him at home. However, Yang Tianjiao cannot stay at home.”

Guo Feixiong (real name Yang Maodong), is a lawyer and human rights defender who participated in the Taishi village protest incident in Guangdong Province and the rescue effort to free rights defense attorney Gao Zhisheng.

Held Without Bail

The regime accused Guo of being involved in the publication of a magazine called “Shengyang's Political Earthquake” five years ago, which exposed the corruption of Shenyang officials.

The case was reopened and he was arrested in September 2006. Before Guo was sentenced, the court had rejected his case twice, asking the police to further investigate due to insufficient evidence. Guo was formally charged in November 2007 with running an “illegal business operation,” (i.e., publishing the aforementioned magazine) and sentenced to five years imprisonment and fined 40,000 yuan (approximately US$ 5,700).

Tortured While in Custody

When his lawyer visited Guo in the detention center, Guo told him that the police brutally tortured him, including shocking his genitals with an electric baton.

Zhang said, “When Guo Feixiong met with his lawyer on November 23, he mentioned that authorities had threatened him five or six times, and some of the threats have already been actualized. One of them is, “We will not let your son attend elementary school, and neither will we let your daughter attend middle school.”

Last year when her son was supposed to attend elementary school, the school authorities firmly rejected their request.

Natural Right

“What I can do now is to write public letters to government leaders and several organizations. Even if it doesn't work, I will still continue to write [to them].”

Zhang added, “Going to school is a natural right for a child. I hope that people from all circles and just-minded media call for people's attention on my behalf.”