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Imprisoned dissident writer Yang Maodong allegedly tortured, confession to be used in court

(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is alarmed by claims by dissident writer Yang Maodong that he was tortured in detention, and that a confession extracted through torture is to be used as evidence in court.

According to PEN's information, Yang Maodong, also known as Guo Feixiong, a well-known dissident writer, independent publisher and civil rights activist, who has been in detention since 14 September 2006, was reportedly transferred to the Shenyang detention centre between 20 January and 27 March 2007, during which time, he alleges, he was severely treated and repeatedly tortured. The police interrogation reportedly focused on his involvement in and reporting of an anti-corruption campaign by villagers in Taishi Village, Guangdong Province. This incident is not related to the charges under which Yang Maodong is currently being held.

Yang Maodong was arrested on 14 September 2006 on charges of "suspected illegal business dealings", for which he is to stand trial on 15 June. According to his wife, police officers searched their home in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, Southern China, and took away Yang's computers, cell phone, books, manuscripts and other documents. The following day Yang was reportedly charged with illegal business practices for allegedly publishing and selling 20,000 books using false ISBNs (international standard book numbers). His wife claims that the charges are totally unfounded.

Yang Maodong, aged 40, is known for his critical writings and civil rights activism. He was previously detained on 12 September 2005 and held without charge until December 2005 for his involvement in and reporting of an anti-corruption campaign by villagers in Taishi Village, Guangdong Province. PEN campaigned for his release (see: http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/index.php?pid=33&aid=393&return=33 ).

Yang Maodong has since been subject to repeated harassment by the authorities, culminating in his arrest on 14 September 2006. Yang Maodong is a writer and independent publisher, and his writings include two novels and one collection of short stories. He has also published many essays, poems and articles.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities:
- expressing outrage at reports that a confession by Yang Maodong extracted through torture is to be used in court as evidence
- condemning the use of torture and degrading treatment against prisoners, in violation of the United Nations Convention against Torture
- seeking assurances from the authorities that Yang Maodong is humanely treated while in detention
- calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which China is a signatory

APPEALS TO:

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P. R. China

Procurator General Mr. Jia Chunwang
Supreme People's Procuratorate
Beiheyan Street 147
100726 Beijing
P. R. China

Please note that fax numbers are no longer available for the Chinese authorities, so you may wish to ask the diplomatic representative for China in your country to forward your appeals.

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for China in your country, and to the source, if possible.

Please contact WIPC if sending appeals after 7 July 2007.

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