Human Rights in China received the following letter from Zhang Qing, Guo Feixiong's wife. The letter describes the abuse that Guo Feixiong has endured, as well as details about his current situation.
The English-language translation is provided by Human Rights in China. Zhang Qing's original Chinese-language letter can be found following the English translation.
Recent Developments with Guo Feixiong|
By Zhang Qing (Guo Feixiong's wife)
September 2, 2008
[Translation by Human Rights in China]
On August 29, 2008, I visited Guo Feixiong in Meizhou. Although now it is pointless to think too much about things, I can't seem to quiet the thoughts hovering in my head, especially thoughts about Meizhou. … Recounting the various memories I have of Meizhou and Meizhou Prison is not a trivial matter for me.
The first time that my life became closely connected to Meizhou was on the evening of December 24, 2007. … It was on that night that the troubles of the past few years revealed themselves unmistakably. It was Christmas Eve, so my children and I went to a church gathering. It was a joyous get-together, and the children received beautiful little gifts. As I left and walked out into the fresh, cold winter night, I felt peace and tranquility in the darkened streets.
I returned home with my children. While waiting for the elevator, I suddenly thought to check my mailbox. I pulled it open and found a letter. I felt the malicious impact of the writing on this ordinary little piece of paper the moment it met my eyes. It was the first time I'd ever received a letter of this kind, and it was precisely this letter that brought us inextricably close to Meizhou and Meizhou Prison. The letter announced that Guo Feixiong had been sent to serve his sentence in Meizhou Prison on December 13. Meizhou is in northeast Guangdong, on the border of Fujian province. None of our friends had guessed that Guo Feixiong would be sent to Meizhou, that unfamiliar and faraway place.
The next day, December 25, I telephoned Meizhou Prison to verify directions to the prison. They told me that it would take eight hours on the highway and five hours on the expressway. I also found out that Guo Feixiong was on hunger strike. I was shocked and worried. Guo Feixiong had told me before that he would only use hunger strike as a last resort. Thus, this hunger strike must mean that he was treated horribly when he arrived at Meizhou Prison. I decided to go see him on December 28. I needed to know what in fact had led him to go on hunger strike again.
I told Guo Feixiong's older sister about Meizhou Prison and the hunger strike. She had not seen him since March 2006. She immediately decided to take off work to come with me to visit Guo Feixiong.
On December 28 , we saw Guo Feixiong at Meizhou Prison for the first time. Through the glass partition, I could see that his body was stiff, and he wobbled as he walked to the visitation area. He was pale and his lips were lifeless; he was emaciated.
He told us that on his first day at Meizhou Prison—December 13, 2007—the prison [guards] threatened him, and forced him to do physical labor for four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening. In addition, he had to participate in a few hours of drills and exercises in the evening. He was not permitted contact with other prisoners, or to read the newspaper or any books from the library. He was not allowed to cross the three yellow security lines painted on the ground in front of his door. They also threatened to send him to a mental hospital.
He began his hunger strike on that day and planned to continue it for 100 days. He was doing this to call upon the Chinese government to improve the prison conditions for political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, and those persecuted for their religious beliefs, and to initiate political reform.
On the fifth day, [the prison guards] secretly arranged for a prisoner to beat him. During the long course of the beating, he tried four times to speak, but prison guards covered his mouth, and deliberately injured his chin. This beating occurred in front of 200 prisoners, who were unable to do anything. It wasn't until [the prisoners] all raised their voices that the beating finally stopped.
Now, more than six months later, when I think of the cruel torture Guo Feixiong suffered in prison, my heart cries: the world is now a civilized place in pursuit of the common values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule-of-law. But in China, there is no guarantee of human rights, either inside or outside of prison. It is still a place of anxiety where human rights are trampled upon. It is still a place where the powerful play with the law, resulting in persecution and injustice. It is still a place where the law is broken by those who enforce it. It is still a place where the rights of dissidents' children to go to school are restricted. Our entire summer has been spent running around trying to work out our children's school enrollment issues. The main reason for this visit is to tell Guo Feixiong about the children's situation.
The August 29 visit was my fifth time seeing him in Meizhou Prison. I brought my son with me because I couldn't find anyone to look after him. He did not go in but waited for me in the waiting room.
Our meeting went smoothly. We began around 3:30 PM and were able to meet for an uninterrupted 40 minutes. A thick pane of soundproof glass separated us and we used a light-colored telephone to talk. We first spoke of our children's enrollment problems, specifically about our daughter's not being allowed to move up to middle school. I told him everything that I had done—the open letters I wrote to the central and local government; the two applications I had written and submitted to No. 47 Middle School; the two applications I sent by express mail to the Tianhe District Education Bureau; the three times I went to Tianhe District Education Bureau to meet with the office chief; and the meeting I had with the principal of No. 47 Middle School.
When I met with the principal, she was basically in agreement with me but said, "This is a difficult situation. I don't have the authority to make the decision myself." She said that she would call someone to ask and did so right then. After the call, she told me there wasn't anything she could do.
I knew that she called the office chief of the Education Bureau. So, after finishing with her, I immediately hailed a cab to the Admissions Office of the Tianhe District Education Bureau. The office chief had already left. I figured that she must have known that I was coming. I left a note saying that I would return to see her the following day.
When I saw her the following day, her tone was extremely cold. I told her I knew that there were places available in the school. She replied that it wasn't a question of available places. She said that she had already arranged things for me and would not make any further changes. She sounded definitive.
They sent Yang Tianjiao [Zhang and Guo's daughter] a piece of paper, telling her to either return to Hubei [Yang Tianqiao's hukou is for Hubei] or to a private school. The tuition for private school is too high for us. This has put a lot of pressure on Xi Xi [Yang Tianjiao's pet name]. Her classmates all know she doesn't have a school to go to and that her little brother has already missed a year of school. They are all very concerned about her situation. They frequently call her, asking if she knows which school she will be attending. Each time she has to tell them it still hasn't been decided, which has caused her much stress.
Under these circumstances, Xixi said and I agreed, "If No. 47 Middle School doesn't admit me, I don't want to drag this on. I'll go to the school farther away." That's why she is enrolled at that school. She has to walk the 25 or 30 minutes to and from school each day four times because she goes home at noon for lunch—this is a total of about two hours of walking a day.
After listening, Guo Feixiong responded, "You shouldn't give up on No. 47 Middle School. The traffic around North Tianhe [where the other school is located] is very complicated. Rushing back and forth everyday is very dangerous. Going to a nearby school with her own classmates is her right. You need to keep trying." I said this definitely would not be that simple.
Guo Feixiong looked as emaciated as before. It seemed he hadn't gained any weight since April, probably because of prison food. They say that the prison food is terrible and that many of the prisoners are malnourished. Guo Feixiong didn't mention any of this. He remained in good spirits. But he is worried about our daughter's situation.
During the visit, he asked about the medicine that I brought him last time. Before February 25 of this year, when Guo Feixiong was still on hunger strike, the prison forced a feeding tube down him. Instead of giving him nutrition, they gave him some sort of fluid which his body could not tolerate. As a result, he vomited for seven or eight days and his urine turned red. When his weight dropped to about 43 kilograms [less than 95 pounds], he was forced to end his hunger strike. After that, his urine changed from red to dark yellow and has yet to return to a normal color. So, after consulting with a doctor who practices Chinese medicine, I brought Guo Feixiong some medicine, but the prison would not take it, saying they don't accept chemical substances. During this visit he told me to write the name of the medicine in a letter to him, and he would buy it from the prison. His health still hasn't returned to normal.
Regarding the appeal of his case, he asked whether the lawyer had received his appeal commission. I said the lawyer had received it and had been in contact with Meizhou Prison. The lawyer says he needs to go to the Guangdong Province Prison Bureau, but the procedures there are very difficult. The lawyer was not confident he would be successful, so he has set it aside for the time being. Guo Feixiong said he hopes that the lawyer can start the appeal process.
Tonight, I called the lawyer from the train station in Meizhou. Mr. Mo [the lawyer] said that he will arrange for visiting papers immediately after the Paralympics and will go to Meizhou Prison to see Guo Feixiong.