Sat, Feb 11, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Chinese hunger striker detained, Amnesty claims

AP , BEIJING

A village political activist has been detained by police in Beijing shortly after beginning a hunger strike to call attention to legal abuses in China, rights group Amnesty International reported yesterday.

Guo Feixiong (郭飛雄), also known as Yang Maodong, had only recently been released from detention in the southern province of Guangzhou, where he had been helping residents of the village of Taishi in their campaign against corruption.

On Wednesday, Guo began a public hunger strike at Beijing's Xinhua Gate and was promptly arrested and detained at the city's Fuyou Police Station, Amnesty International said.

Guo is a close associate of outspoken lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), whose law license was revoked late last year after he represented numerous religious and political dissidents.

A lawyer who reportedly attempted to contact Guo was told by police not to become involved in the case, the group said.

Guo has claimed to have been subject to beatings by police and hired thugs in past due to his political activism.

The highly publicized Taishi case is one of several pitting villagers angry over corruption and land seizures against local officials, many of which have turned violent in recent months.

Beijing urges local officials to resolve conflicts peacefully.

But it seems loath to intervene in cases where its authority could be challenged.

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