Thursday 8 December 2016

Imprisoned Chinese activist honoured in Dublin by leading human rights’ organisation

Sam Griffin

Published 11/09/2015 | 13:02

An imprisoned Chinese activist has been honoured by a leading human rights’ organisation in Dublin.

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Guo Feixiong received the Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk for his lifetime’s work dedicated to promoting justice and equal rights for all.

Zhang Qing and her daughter Yang Tianjiao [ Sara] pictured with the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders, which was awarded to Chinese legal activist and human rights defencer,Guo Feixiong [Yang Zhang Qing's Husband]. Photo: Frank McGrath
Zhang Qing and her daughter Yang Tianjiao [ Sara] pictured with the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders, which was awarded to Chinese legal activist and human rights defencer,Guo Feixiong [Yang Zhang Qing's Husband]. Photo: Frank McGrath

The activist is currently in the notorious Tianhe Detention Center in south China where he has been held for more than two years.

He has been a constant and vocal outspoken critic and was arrested after speaking at public rallies and demanding an end to human rights abuses committed by Chinese authorities.

He faced trial in 2014 but is still awaiting a verdict and remains in prison.

His wife Zhang Qing, and daughter Sarah Wang, accepted the award his behalf and thanked the Irish people for their support.

Writer and Playwright Sebastian Barry pictured before he presented the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award Photo: Frank McGrath
Writer and Playwright Sebastian Barry pictured before he presented the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award Photo: Frank McGrath
Mary Lawlor Director of Front Line Defenders and Denis O Brien pictured with Zhang Qing and her daughter Yang Tianjiao [ Sara] who recieved the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders, on behalf of Yang Zhang Qing's Husband Guo Feixiong. Photo: Frank McGrath

They said Guo “still holds a peaceful and pure heart” despite experiencing a wide range of political persecution and being the target of a witch hunt by the Chinese government.

“He shows enduring strength and courage to pursue rights, equality and justice peacefully,” Zhang Quin said.

They said he has been subjected to torture including being hung from a ceiling by his arms, chained to his bed and electric shocks.

The award was presented by author Sebastian Barry who praised the activist for his work in preventing farmers from being thrown off their land and protecting journalists who questioned the Chinese authorities.

“He is a symbol of the endurance of the human spirit, of the will to survive and of the human need for free air off ideas, to make life worth living. He is a worthy recipient of the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award,” the author said.

Guo’s daughter Sarah also played a piece on the piano, called ‘the Cosmos’, which was inspired by her father, at this morning’s event.

There were other finalists in the running for the award and Front Line Defenders Executive Director Mary Lawlor said all four bore the “brunt of repression and retaliation from authoritarian regimes”.

Front Line Defenders chairman Denis O’Brien said those fighting for human rights were “wonderful people doing extraordinary things” and praised all five finalists of the award.

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