U.S. Government Grants Guo Feixiong's Family Political Asylum

Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20, 2009

TEXAS--After more than two years of political advocacy and months seeking political refuge outside of China, the wife and two children of imprisoned Chinese legal advocate Guo Feixiong were officially granted political asylum by the U.S. government on November 10, 2009. The law firm handling the case received notification on November 19, and shared the news with the family. Guo's wife, Zhang Qing, expressed joy and gratitude for the official decision, after escaping from China with teenage daughter, Yang Tianjiao, and 8-year-old son, Yang Tiance, in February of this year.
Guo Feixiong is considered by many to be China's "Number Two" legal advocate, second only to human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng. Guo (birth name Yang Maodong) has suffered intense persecution for his long history of legal defense work, including legally advising Taishi villagers in a political corruption scandal in 2005, publishing the Shenyang Political Earthquake, a journal which exposed government corruption in Shenyang city, Liaoning, and leading a hunger strike protesting the abuse of human rights activists in 2006.

Guo was formally arrested again September 30th for "illegal business activity" and held without trial until his indictment on May 15, 2007. During his illegal detention in Guangzhou and Shenyang Detention Centers, Guo was forced under extreme torture by electric shock to confess his "illegal business," which the Tianhe District Court of Guangzhou City used to convict him on November 14, 2007. He was sentenced to 5-years imprisonment and a 40,000 yuan fine. Weak from hunger strikes and beatings, Guo continues to serve out his 5-year sentence in Meizhou Prison, Guangdong. For more information on Guo's history of advocacy and persecution, view the archived reports at ChinaView.com.

Guo's wife, Zhang Qing, became a political target herself beginning in 2007, when she issued ten open letters appealing for Guo Feixiong's release to American and Chinese leaders--including President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiaobo, U.S. President Bush, and the U.S. Congress. (Read Zhang Qing's Open Letter to President Bush, care of the Wei Jingsheng Foundation, Epoch Times. and ChinaView) By the winter of 2008, the Guo family had come under close surveillance and harassment by Chinese police, forcing them to seek asylum outside the country.
In February, 2009, Zhang Qing fled with her children to Bangkok, Thailand, sending an appeal for political refugee status to the UN High Commission on Refugees. The UNHCR denied her request on March 19, because her case was not considered "under the UNHCR's mandate."

Aware of the Guo family's dangerous situation, ChinaAid President Bob Fu flew to Thailand to mediate their case and speak to the UNHCR office in person. He addressed the Guo family's request to the Obama Administration prior to leaving the US, and continued discussions with them while in Bangkok. When the Obama Administration decided not to activate the special procedure allowing the Guo family to be extradited without UN approval, Bob Fu made the "conscience decision" to help the Guo family flee to the United States. Zhang Qing and her two children arrived safely on American soil on April 7, 2009.

With the support of many NGOs, churches, individuals, and a strong legal team, the Guo family's asylum case processed smoothly in a little over 7 months. Barred from attending public school in China, the two children now enjoys classes at a private school in Midland, Texas. Zhang Qing, who was a medical assistant in China, will now be permitted to work under asylum status in the United States. She prays that one day, husband and father Guo will be united safely with their family in the United States.
ChinaAid thanks the many prayer warriors and supporters who have invested in procuring the safety of the Guo family. We are encouraged by the U.S. government's decision to protect familes of persecuted prisoners, and will continue to press the issue of human rights until freedom of belief and thought is available to all in China.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original press release stated that the Guo family was granted political asylum on November 19. The Guo family was officially granted political asylum on November 10. The law firm handling the case received the notice and shared the news with the family on November 19. ChinaAid humbly apologizes for the mis-report and has duly edited this release.