China Change, June 15, 2016
On June 14, Beijing time, Gei Feixiong’s older sister Yang Maoping (杨茂平) went to the Yangchun Prison. Later, she wrote the following message: “Friends: my WeChat friends groups have been shut down, and my Sina Weibo account has also been blocked. My younger brother Guo Feixiong (Yang Maodong) has been on a hunger strike in the Yangchun Prison for over 30 days. Yesterday I went to the prison to deliver a letter by his wife, Zhang Qing (张青), urging him to stop fasting, and was prepared to tell him the same thing myself. But prison authorities didn’t let me see him. At about 5pm Beijing time, the office director of the prison came out and said: ‘If you think that you absolutely must see Yang Maodong, and that there’s some benefit to it, then we’ll go back and think the matter over. Go back to your hotel now and we’ll look into it tomorrow.’ I said: ‘OK, I believe you. I’ll be back tomorrow.’ So after sitting eight hours outside the prison, I went back to the hotel.”
According to the latest from an activist who follows the matter closely, the sister has still not been allowed to see Guo Feixiong.
Wife Zhang Qing’s letter to Guo Feixiong:
Hello, Yang Maodong,
Writing you is like talking face to face again!
I have been mostly informed of the situation you’re in. I completely understand why you’re choosing a hunger strike to protest the extreme abuse you’re being subject to — but I’m also extremely worried about your health, and for the safety of your life. Myself and our children have been to New York and Washington, DC, trying to get help for you, and we’ve been meeting with different people.
A lot of our friends, young and old, asked me to tell you that they care a lot about you. Everyone is concerned about your health, and they too understand why you’re using a hunger strike to protest. They think that your demands are reasonable, because all the persecution you’ve suffered was because of this political system, which dishes out the worst abuse to political offenders. The authorities can easily improve the treatment of political prisoners if they wish to, and the demand you made is very basic.
If the authorities decide to treat you better, to meet the most basic and the most necessary conditions in custody, then I request that you consider the overall circumstances and cease this hunger strike. Later, we can discuss the situation based on the specifics of how you are treated.
Earlier on I mentioned to you that Cici [the couple’s daughter Sarah Yang] had composed a piano piece, “The Cosmos,” soon after you were locked up in August 2013. It was for you, and she explained that, in Chinese translation, she meant “The Starry Sky.” She said that “the cosmos” is just a general concept, but that “starry sky” is how our eyes encounter the cosmos and its grandeur. In September last year, a music publisher in Europe heard this tune, and he thought it was excellent. He contacted us through friends, and asked us to license it to him, so he could adapt it for lyrics. They’ve already arranged it as a song and sent us a sample in early May. It’s brilliant. They’re still tinkering with it to make it better.
Everything you’ve been doing is all part of a sincere hope that China will progress, to become a society with equal human rights, basic freedoms, and respect for life. These ideals, and striving to realize them, will always be the right thing to do.
I love you, and our children love you, and we respect you deeply. Please stop your hunger strike!
June 9, 2016
To contact Yangchun Prison:
Prison chief Wu Zhanhua (吴湛华) — (+86 662 7806008)
Political commissar Liu Yang (刘扬) — (+86 662 7806017)
To contact wife Zhang Qing or sister Yang Maoping: Ask @yaxuecao on Twitter.
China Change readers: Please call those phone numbers and demand that the prison improve conditions for Guo Feixiong. Even calls in English will help — it shows the officials that the world is watching them, and that they can’t act with impunity.