Guo Feixiong, 55, has previously been imprisoned from 2006 to 2011 for alleged ‘illegal business activity’ following the publication a book titled Shenyang Political Earthquake, in which he investigated government corruption in the Liaoning province, and from 2013 to 2019 for ‘gathering crowds to disturb social order’ after he gave a speech in support of press freedom at a local newspaper’s anti-censorship protest. While in prison, Guo was subjected to torture including electric shocks.
“By arresting Guo Feixiong again, after already detaining him for 11 years in the past, the Chinese regime shows its determination to silence one of the most vocal defenders of press freedom in China at all costs”, says the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East-Asia bureau head, Cédric Alviani, who urges the international community to build up pressure on Beijing to “secure Guo’s release alongside all other journalists and press freedom defenders detained in China.”
On 28th January 2021, Guo Feixiong tried to leave China for the United States to visit his wife Zhang Qing, who was terminally ill, but he was denied boarding. Zhang passed away early this month, before she could reunite with her husband.
RSF has recently published an unprecedented investigative report entitled ‘The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China’, which reveals the previously unheard-of campaign of repression led by Beijing against journalism and the right to information worldwide.
China, ranked 177th out of 180 in the 2021 RSF World Press Freedom Index, is the world's largest captor of journalists with at least 128 detained.