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Press release: Family of China’s Missing Rights Defense Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Arrives in U.S.

Posted by Author on March 11, 2009

Press elease, Human Rights in China, March 11, 2009 –

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received news that rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s (高智晟) wife and children have safely landed in the United States on March 11, 2009. HRIC warmly welcomes the safe arrival of the Gao family.

Gao is well-known for representing politically sensitive cases and for his outspokenness. In 2005, he wrote a series of open letters to urge President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao to stop the repression of Falun Gong practitioners and dissidents. In December 2006, Gao was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on conviction of “inciting subversion of state power.” Even though the sentence was suspended for five years, the suspension put not only him, but also his family, under heavy surveillance and frequent harassment. In addition, Gao was detained multiple times, including several weeks in September 2007 during which he was savagely tortured, an episode he described in an account that HRIC released on February 8, 2009. On February 4, 2009, Gao was seen forcibly taken from his hometown, Xiaoshibanqiao Village, in Shenquan Township, Jiaxian County, Shaanxi Province, by more than 10 state security policemen. He has not been heard from since.

HRIC calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Gao Zhisheng, who has sacrificed his freedom and suffered torture for defending the rights of others.

Gao Zhisheng’s Background

Voted in 2001 as “one of China’s top ten lawyers” by a publication run by the Chinese Ministry of Justice, Gao is a self-trained legal professional. He represented some of China’s most vulnerable people, including underground Christians and exploited coal miners. His 2007 detention immediately followed an open letter he sent to the U.S. Congress denouncing the human rights situation in China and describing his and his family’s treatment by security forces. In his account that HRIC made public, Gao describes violent beatings, repeated electric shocks to his genitals, and having his eyes burnt by lit cigarettes. After he was released, acquaintances described him as seeming to be “a broken man,” both physically and spiritually.

In June 2007, Gao received the Courageous Advocacy Award of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). His memoirs, A China More Just, were published in English the same year.

– from Human Rights in China

One Response to “Press release: Family of China’s Missing Rights Defense Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Arrives in U.S.”

  1. RaiulBaztepo said

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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