Freed activist aims to recover health

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 September, 2011, 12:00am


Legal activist Guo Feixiong says he will focus on recovering his health after 'experiences that were beyond human imagination' during five years in jail.

Guo (pictured), released from Meizhou Prison on Tuesday, also said yesterday that he remained convinced that a democratic China would be realised through gradual reform.

Also known as Yang Maodong , he was jailed and fined 40,000 yuan (HK$48,700) for conducting 'illegal business activities' - publishing a book that exposed a political scandal in Shenyang , the capital of Liaoning province. He also represented farmers and members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement and gave legal advice to disgruntled villagers in Taishi, Guangdong, in 2005 who were planning to vote out their elected chief over allegations of corrupt land sales. Guo documented the villagers' fights online and the Taishi campaign attracted major international media attention.

Guo, 44, said yesterday he had not been diagnosed with any particular illness but it would take a long time to restore his frail health.

'I develop cold sweats even by talking on the phone,' Guo said. 'I don't want to go into details of what happened in jail because I don't want anyone [who assaulted me] to be targeted. I believe I can reconcile with them one day. I have been subjected to very, very special treatment that is beyond human imagination. My lawyer and family previously revealed some of the ordeal. What happened to me was too much but there is no point in pursuing it further ... what I can say is only that what my lawyer and family said was true.'

Previous media reports said Guo had gone on hunger strikes to protest against abuse while in detention in Shenyang. He was quoted as saying that he no longer recognised the judiciary's authority because of the continuous 'cruel and inhumane' treatment he had suffered in custody, including electric shocks to his genitals. Other examples of torture included being interrogated for 13 days without sleep, being restrained on a bed for 42 days and being beaten violently by an inmate. However, Guo said he had held onto his beliefs despite the trauma.

'There is no thought about compromising or giving up principles,' he said.

'Five years ago, I believed in no violence, no bleeding and no enemy. Now, I'm still the same. I'm no more aggressive or weakened than I was five years ago.

'Rights activists are not doing so well nowadays. It's not good to establish any more enemies. China must go through gradual steps of reform. Before achieving modern civilisation and democratic rule, the nation must be harmonious and united.'

He was arrested in September 2006 for illegally publishing 26,098 books valued at 260,980 yuan about a political scandal in Shenyang.

Against legal advice in 2007, Guo dropped his appeal against his five-year prison sentence due to the physical and psychological toll wreaked by the previous 14 months in detention, according to his lawyer and his wife, who now lives in the United States with their two children.

'I have no plans to go to the US; I don't expect to see them for another eight to 10 years,' Guo said of his wife and children.