Prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has started what he hopes will become a nationwide hunger-strike campaign to support Yang Maodong and other persecuted activists. Mr Gao, whose 48-hour hunger strike with friend Ye Shuang was due to end at 6am today, said the act was a last resort. He said attacks on activists and regular people had mushroomed in the past six months, but after Mr Yang was beaten in front of a Guangzhou police station early on Saturday, they decided to act. 'He [Mr Yang] was dragged out of the police station and beaten just outside the door. This is outrageous but not surprising, given that the Communist Party has turned triad-like,' Mr Gao said. 'We are protesting through peaceful means. With more people joining in, the party will, for sure, take notice of us.' Mr Yang, better known as Guo Feixiong, has been helping residents of Guangdong's Taishi village try to remove their allegedly corrupt leader. Apart from being followed recently, Mr Yang was targeted by plain-clothes police who took photographs of his wife and two children last Thursday. The next day, Mr Yang went out to take photos of the men and got into an argument with them. Mr Yang and the men then went to the police station and upon leaving, he was attacked by six to seven men and his film snatched. A second hunger strike, this one 24 hours, is planned for today, by activists Hu Jia and Qi Zhiyong , whose left leg was amputated after being shot during the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. According to Mr Hu, the protesters would post entries online, which he believed would attract participants around the country. Mr Gao said the campaign would continue as long as abuses of civilians persisted. Last year, blind activist Chen Guangcheng was put under house arrest for more than five months for exposing violations of the birth-control programme in Shandong . Last Thursday, lawyer Tang Jingling was beaten after visiting Mr Yang.