In a letter to the police authorities holding rights defender Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄, the penname of Yang Maodong (杨茂东)), Guo’s lawyers stated that the period of Guo’s detention without formal arrest has far exceeded the lawful time limit for such detention, and that he should be released immediately. Guo was detained on August 8 on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” The law limits the period of detention of an individual without a formal arrest to 37 days (Criminal Procedure Law, Article 89).
In their September 24 letter to the Tianhe Sub-branch of the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau (see below for an English translation by HRIC), the lawyers, Sui Muqing (隋牧青) and Lin Qilei (蔺其磊), said that, in addition, the authorities have yet to permit them to meet with their client, despite their having requested such a meeting four times. They said that the authorities claimed that Guo was involved in another case in Chibi, Hubei, where the suspects were charged with crimes of endangering state security. Sui and Lin pointed out that the reason for the refusal to let them meet with Guo no longer exists: the charges against the suspects in the Chibi case have been changed to “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place”—not a crime that endangers state security.
Guo is a vocal supporter of those calling for disclosure of officials’ assets. In March, he helped organize a signature campaign to urge the National People’s Congress to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998. Guo also supported the January 2013 protest by the staff of Southern Weekly against political interference in editorial matters.
Requesting a Resolution on the Lawyer-Client Meeting Issue and
an Announcement of Whether Guo Feixiong Will be Arrested
September 24, 2013
[English translation by Human Rights in China]
To the Tianhe Sub-branch of the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau:
As the defense lawyers of Yang Maodong (杨茂东) [penname Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄)] who is suspected of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,” we went to the Tianhe District Detention Center four times to request a meeting with Yang Maodong. Both the Bureau and the detention center unlawfully refused our requests. The Bureau’s “Decision to Refuse to Allow Meetings with Criminal Suspect,” says: Because Yang Maodong is suspected of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,” and is simultaneously involved in the case of Huang Wenxun (黄文勋), Yuan Xiaohua (袁小华), Yuan Bing (袁兵), and others in Chibi, Hubei—who are suspected of “inciting subversion of state power,” which is categorized as a case involving crimes of endangering state security—meetings [with the suspect] would hinder the investigation or possibly cause the leaking of state secrets. In accordance with the provisions under Article 37, Paragraph 3 of China’s Criminal Procedure Law, we have decided not to allow the applicants to meet with criminal suspect Yang Maodong.
It is not necessary to repeat here the argument we presented in our previous letter to the Bureau, that that decision lacked legal basis. And now, it is confirmed that Huang Wenxun, Yuan Xiaohua, and Yuan Bing are being suspected of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,” not crimes that endanger state security. The reason for the Bureau’s decision to refuse to let us meet with Yang Maodong lacked standing to begin with, and now, a reason that lacked standing has ceased to exist. We ask the Bureau to correct this error immediately, and to order the Tianhe District Detention Center to stop preventing us from lawfully meeting with Yang Maodong.
In addition, Yang Maodong has already been criminally detained for 45 days, a period that has exceeded the legal maximum period of 30 days, one that had long ago exceeded the legal time limit for criminal detention. The Bureau is again seriously breaking the law. If Yang Maodong has not been officially arrested, he should be released immediately without charge. We, the lawyers of Yang Maodong, and all of his family members, have yet to receive any notification regarding the Bureau’s handling of Yang Maodong’s case, and we ask to be notified immediately.
Sui Muqing, Guangdong Yaohui Law Office
Address: Building B, 43 Floor, Yaozhong Plaza, 9 Lin Hexi Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Lin Qilei, Beijing Ruikai Law Office
Background on Guo Feixiong (Yang Maodong)
Guo Feixiong, a long-time rights advocate, is among dozens of rights activists and defenders who have been taken into custody in recent months in an intensified crackdown on those calling for greater government transparency and an end to corruption. Those detained include Xu Zhiyong (许志永), a proponent of the New Citizens’ Movement.
Guo is a writer, activist, and self-taught legal defender, who has written a number of articles and published books on China’s history, leadership, and social issues. He was previously sentenced to five years in prison, and suffered on-going harassment from the authorities, for articles he wrote in support of the well- known rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng.
Guo was formally arrested in September 2006 on the charge of “illegal business activity” (非法经营) in connection with his 2001 publication of Shenyang Political Earthquake (沈阳政坛地震), a book he edited that discussed a political scandal in Shenyang, Liaoning province. He was convicted in November 2007, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined 40,000 yuan.
Since his release in September 2011, Guo was subject to unrelenting surveillance and regularly seized or summoned and questioned about his activities. He nonetheless remains an active member of the human rights community, and has participated in key recent events such as the Wukan elections in 2012; investigations surrounding the death of Li Wangyang; and a signature campaign for independent candidate, Liu Ping, an advocate of the disclosure of officials’ assets who has been indicted on charges of “inciting subversion of state power.”
For more information on Guo Feixiong, see:
- Lawyers Urge Authorities Not to Approve Formal Arrest of Guo Feixiong, September 16, 2013
- Support Group Says Police Unlawfully Block Lawyers from Meeting with Guo Feixiong, August 27, 2013
- Guangzhou Activist Guo Feixiong Criminally Detained, August 19, 2013
- “Rights Defender Guo Feixiong Released from Prison; Remains Committed to Rights Work,” September 13, 2011
- “Rights Defender Subjected to Torture in Prison is Denied Access to Lawyer,” November 3, 2008
- “HRIC September Take Action: Put an End to Torture in China,” September 10, 2008
- “About the Individual: Guo Feixiong,” September 2, 2008
- “Spotlight: Letter to Human Rights in China about Recent Developments with Guo Feixiong,” September 2, 2008
- “Take Action for Guo Feixiong,” September 2, 2008
- “Children of Rights Defender Guo Feixiong Barred from School Enrollment,” June 30, 2008
- “HRIC Condemns Official Interference in Access to Justice in Rights Defense Cases: Hu Jia, Guo Feixiong,” April 21, 2008
- “Guo Feixiong's Wife Issues Statement on the Decision Not to Appeal,” November 27, 2007
- “HRIC Condemns Abuse and Torture of Chinese Legal Advisor,” December 31, 2007