China dissident writer free after 5 years in jail

AP , Wednesday 14 Sep 2011

Businessman and dissident author, Yang Maodong, reveals accounts of torture in a Chinese jail for 5 years, adding he was interrogated about his democratic views

A Chinese dissident writer who was freed this week after five years in jail for alleged illegal business activities said Wednesday that he had been wrongly imprisoned and subjected to treatment "beyond people's imagination" while in custody.

Yang Maodong told The Associated Press that the charges against him were trumped up and that during his time in custody his interrogators only questioned him about his pro-democracy activities, not business matters.

"I am innocent," he said. "It's a political case and I was called a political prisoner in the places where I was detained. All of this is political persecution of me because I promoted democracy."

Arrested in September 2006 and sentenced in November 2007, Yang was released from prison Tuesday. The writer's advocacy group, International PEN, has said Yang was targeted for writing the book "Shenyang Political Earthquake," which allegedly exposed official corruption in a north-eastern province.

Human rights groups have said that Yang, also known as Guo Feixiong, was tortured by police in his home province of Guangdong and in Shenyang and was also mistreated in prison in Guangdong.

The New York-based advocacy group, Human Rights in China, said in a statement Wednesday that Yang was interrogated for 13 days and nights without sleep, tied to a wooden bed for 42 days with his arms and legs shackled, and hung from the ceiling by his arms and legs while police electrocuted his genitals with a high voltage baton. At the Meizhou Prison in Guangdong, he was allowed to be beaten by an inmate while 200 others watched, it said.

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