A well-known whistleblower and pro-democracy figure, he was kept for years in a two-square-meter cell and routinely tortured.
by Liu Wangmin
Guo was born in 1963 in Siping City, Jilin Province, and worked as an employee at the Fusong Jianghe Power Plant in Jilin city. In 2003, he reported a Jilin businessman and his relative Xu Wengui, a prosecutor in Jilin, as being involved in a fraud of false hospitalization bills. His whistleblowing activities were not welcomed, and he was arrested and sentenced to five years in jail in 2005 for “embezzlement of funds,” a frequent charge against whistleblowers. He reported that he was repeatedly tortured in jail.
After he was released, he started campaigning against the use of torture in Chinese prisons, and went to Beijing with his mother Xiao Yunling to petition the Ministry of Justice and ask it to investigate and compensate him for his suffering. While in Beijing, both Guo and his mother were severely beaten by unknown thugs.
In Beijing, he also joined forces with other human rights defenders, and publicly protested for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong and in Mainland China. His petition for justice was regarded as “blackmail and extortion,” and both he and his mother were arrested. On February 1, 2016, Guo was sentenced to 13 years in jail. The decision was upheld on appeal on April 25, 2016, by the Siping city Intermediate Court. His mother got a six-year sentence.
While serving in Ningjiang Prison in Jilin province, Guo was kept in a two-square-meter cell without ventilation, light, or toilet, routinely tortured, and left for dead several times, according to his family and friends.
On April 4, Guo’s father was told by the prison that his son had a brain hemorrhage, and was in critical conditions. Guo’s father and brother were only allowed to see him in the hospital on April 6, and noticed he had lost so much weight that he was reduced to “a bag of bones.”
Guo died on April 9. The family’s petition for an investigation into the causes of his death has so far been denied.