Jailed human rights activist Guo Feixiong refuses to end his six-week hunger strike despite shedding significant weight, his lawyers said after visiting him in prison in southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
Lawyer Zhang Lei told RFA’s Cantonese Service that the 50-year-old Guo, whose birth name is Yang Maodong, looked very weak during a visit Monday. Zhang is the first visitor to see Guo since May 6, four days after he began fasting.
“Many of his friends and his relatives hope he will stop the hunger strike. We passed their thoughts to him but he clearly expressed that he will not halt the hunger strike,” said Zhang.
“This is a medical issue. From the viewpoint of a layman, I judge that it is very dangerous for a person not to eat for such a long time.”
Zhang said he understands that Guo has been drinking water while on hunger strike.
Guo also discussed with his lawyer appealing his sentence. However, Guo refused to sign the appeal after prison authorities requested he delete part of the statement, Zhang said.
Guo’s sister Yang Maoping, who last visited her brother on May 9, told RFA that the family is seeking approval from authorities to transfer Guo from Yangchun Prison to another facility.
“We are asking them to transfer him to another prison. Yang Maodong also wants to do so,” she told RFA.
“He has blood in his stool and has gastrointestinal problems. I wanted to see him and persuade him to stop the hunger strike and bring him for a gastrointestinal checkup,” said Yang Maoping.
Guo began his hunger strike in early May after being subjected to a forced rectal cavity search at the instigation of state security police, as well as forced head shaving and verbal abuse from prison guards, rights groups have said.
Guo was sentenced last November for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" and "gathering a crowd to disrupt social order" after a prolonged period in pretrial detention where he was held alone in a closet-size cell and denied access to the exercise yard for nearly two years.
During his sentencing hearing, Guo shouted in protest at his treatment while in police custody, where he was held in solitary confinement in a small, dark cell and denied permission to exercise outdoors since August 2013.
Reported by Hai Nan for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated by Wong Lok-to. Written in English by Paul Eckert.