Freed China Dissident was Tortured in Custody, Say Rights Groups

Activist and writer Guo Feixiong, also known as Yang Maodong, has been released after five years in prison on charges of illegal business activity. From AP:

Yang Maodong said the charges against him were trumped up and that during his time in custody his interrogators questioned him only about his pro-democracy activities, and not business matters.

“I am innocent,” he said. “It’s a political case and I was called a political prisoner in the places where I was detained. All of this is political persecution of me because I promoted democracy.”

Arrested in September 2006 and sentenced in November 2007, Yang was released from prison on Tuesday. The writer’s advocacy group, International PEN, has said Yang was targeted for writing the book Shenyang Political Earthquake, which allegedly exposed official corruption in a north-eastern province.

Human rights groups have said Yang, also known as Guo Feixiong, was tortured by police in his home province of Guangdong and in Shenyang, and was mistreated in prison in Guangdong.

Like other activists recently released from detention, Guo was reportedly tortured while in detention. He did not give details to reporters, only saying to AP:

“The only thing I can tell you is that I was given special treatment beyond people’s imagination in the detention centre in Liaoning and in prison,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about it in detail. I want to convey a message of forgiveness to the public and not to talk about hatred.”


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