Being denied care for wife, Chinese activist starts hunger strike

Beijing, Jan 29 (efe-epa).- A Chinese activist started a hunger strike Friday to protest the country’s authorities for barring him from travel to the United States, where his wife is receiving chemotherapy.

The China Human Rights Lawyers Support Group (CHRLCG) told EFE that security agents prevented Yang Maodong, or Guo Feixiong, from boarding a Thursday flight to the United States from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, accusing him of “putting national security at risk.”

The source said it had not had contact with Yang since Thursday night.

The activist, self-taught in legal matters, had arrived in Shanghai hours earlier on a flight from the city of Guangzhou, where he resides.

Prior to boarding, Yang told EFE by telephone that his intention was to begin an indefinite hunger strike if Chinese security forces prevented him from leaving the country for the United States.

In an open letter to the country’s top leaders published Thursday by Minsheng Guancha, a website monitoring human rights in China, Yang said his intention was to help his wife, who had a tumor in her colon – that spread to her liver – removed Jan. 9.

The activist’s purpose was to take care of his wife during the 24 weeks the chemotherapy treatment lasts, a trip that, according to Yang, had the approval of the municipal and provincial security forces of Canton.

However, he said the Ministry of Public Security opposed the trip.

“The Chinese authorities’ deprivation of the right of Guo (Yang) to leave his own country violates international humanitarian and human rights standards,” said Sharon Hom, director of the NGO Human Rights in China, adding that the activist had the proper documents for the trip.

Yang, 54, has spent 11 of the last 15 years in prison as a result of his activism, and authorities’ harassment of the family led his wife and two children to go into exile in the United States in 2009.

He was released Aug. 7, 2019 after serving a six-year prison sentence for “disturbing public order” and “seeking a fight and provoking altercations,” charges commonly used against Chinese human rights activists.

In the months before his arrest on Aug. 8, 2013, Yang had participated in a demonstration against censorship in Guangzhou and in a campaign for Beijing to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. EFE-EPA


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