Co-Chairs Commend Release of Professor and Opposition Activist Guo Quan in China
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Jim McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, commend the release of Guo Quan in China. Guo was listed as a prisoner of conscience under the Commission’s Defending Freedoms Project.
Guo, a former associate professor at Nanjing Normal University and founder of the opposition New People’s Party of China, played a leading role in a 2008 campaign to protect the rights of demobilized military officers. He also published criticism about the government’s response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and exposed human rights violations committed by the Chinese Communist Party. On November 13, 2008, authorities raided Guo’s home and detained him on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison on October 16, 2009.
The Co-Chairs are inspired by Guo Quan’s tireless advocacy on behalf of universal human rights in a climate of harsh government repression. Even as they welcome Guo’s release, they strongly urge the Chinese government to release the other 1,424 prisoners of conscience in China deprived of their freedom for exercising their fundamental human rights.
The Co-Chairs would also like to recognize Congressman Ted Poe for his unwavering commitment and advocacy on behalf of Guo Quan through the Defending Freedoms Project. Rep. Poe has fought on behalf of several prisoners of conscience through the Project and currently advocates for Nguyen Van Minh of Vietnam. His efforts on behalf of Guo did not go unnoticed, and his example is one that Members of Congress can follow by choosing to advocate for a prisoner of conscience.
The bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was established by unanimous consent in the United States House of Representatives in 2008 to promote, defend and advocate for international human rights. The Commission undertakes public education activities, provides expert human rights advice and encourages Members of Congress to actively engage in human rights issues.