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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
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    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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Archive for the ‘Gao Zhisheng’ Category

Five other prominent Chinese activists locked up for criticising the government

Posted by Author on October 24, 2010


(Excerpt) The Amnesty International –

The human rights defence movement in China is growing, but those who attempt to report on human rights violations or challenge politically sensitive government policies face serious risk of abuse. The authorities make frequent use of vaguely-worded charges to silence and imprison peaceful activists, such as “endangering state security”, “subversion of state power” and “separatism”.

Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, became another victim of this crackdown when she was placed under house arrest after she returned home from visiting Liu in prison after he had won the Nobel prize.

Amnesty International profiles five other prominent Chinese activists who have been locked up for daring to criticise the government. (They are Liu Xianbin, Gao Zhisheng, Tan Zuoren, Hairat Niyaz, Dhondup Wangchen ) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, Dissident, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Photo, Politics, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off on Five other prominent Chinese activists locked up for criticising the government

Missing Lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s Brother Appeals in Beijing, Police refuse to file the case

Posted by Author on October 22, 2010


ChinaAid, Oct 22, 2010 –

BEIJING — On the afternoon of October 20, 2010, Gao Zhisheng’s oldest brother, Gao Zhiyi tried to speak with police about the disappearance of his brother. The police officers were very evasive and would not file anything about this case.

Accompanied by attorneys Teng Biao and Li Heping, Gao Zhiyi traveled to Xiaoguan Police Station in Chaoyang District on the afternoon of October 21, 2010. Gao Zhisheng has been missing since April 20 of this year and ever since then, there has been no information on him whatsoever. Gao Zhiyi is extremely worried about him, and often finds himself in tears since his brother vanished. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Beijing, China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Missing Lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s Brother Appeals in Beijing, Police refuse to file the case

U.S. Lawmakers Urge Obama for Chinese Dissidents Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng’s Release

Posted by Author on October 6, 2010


Radio Free Asia, Oct 6, 2010 –

U.S. legislators urged President Obama in a letter this week to press for the release of two Chinese dissidents when he meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao in November.

Obama and Hu will meet at the G20 summit scheduled for Nov.  11-12 in Seoul, South Korea.

The dissidents, Liu Xiaobo, a writer, and Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer, are described as “prisoners of conscience” in the Oct. 4 letter signed by a bipartisan group of 29 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and sent by the congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Dissident, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on U.S. Lawmakers Urge Obama for Chinese Dissidents Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng’s Release

Chinese Christian Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Confirmed Tortured

Posted by Author on August 24, 2010


By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries, Aug. 24, 2010 –

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (ANS) — ChinaAid is reporting that at the annual American Bar Association conference, held in San Francisco on August 6, 2010, 17-year-old Grace (Ge Ge) smiled as she walked to the podium to accept the International Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award on behalf of her missing father, Gao Zhisheng.

“I am so very proud of my father,” she said. “This is the first time that this award [has been] granted to a Chinese person. If my father knew that I accepted this award for him, he would be very happy.”

The President of ABA expressed warm regards toward Gao Zhisheng, praising him for his breadth and depth of work for human rights in the Chinese legal system. Ge Ge then shared her admiration for her father and his devotion to his work.

“Deep in my heart,” she said, “my father is the type of person I admire very much. He can get over any difficulties, and he is not afraid of anything. I feel that my father is an outstanding father.”

Though proud of her father’s accomplishments, Ge Ge admitted, “I have been really worrying about my dad’s situation.” Ge Ge and her family continue to dread the reality that Gao continues to be held hostage by the Chinese government and may never return home.

ChinaAid told the ASSIST News Service that it “refuses to back down in the call for freedom for Gao Zhisheng, and all other human rights defenders like him.”

Reliable sources in China recently confirmed that Gao Zhisheng was severely tortured last year in Xinjiang, following his family’s escape to the United States. After briefly resurfacing this March, Gao Zhisheng was able to talk to his family and visit his brother and father-in-law, before being kidnapped again by the authorities from Beijing. No one has seen or heard from him since April 20, 2010.

“Gao’s continued forced disappearance is a blatant disregard of the basic human rights of the Chinese people,” says Pastor Bob Fu, who visited Gao’s family in June.

“If there is no regard for even a well-respected, human rights attorney’s dignity, what stops the Chinese Government from exploiting the dignity of its citizens? We will not stop until Gao’s rights are restored, as a law-abiding citizen of China. We will not rest until Gao Zhisheng is allowed to be reunited unconditionally with his family in the U.S.”

A spokesperson for ChinaAid said, “Urge your friends and family to Sign the Petition and Donate today to help Free Gao Zhisheng! Visit http://www.freegao.com/index.html?refnum= to learn more.”

– assistnews.net

Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social, Torture, World | Comments Off on Chinese Christian Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Confirmed Tortured

Awarded Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Important for China’s Future, Says Vice-President of the European Parliament

Posted by Author on August 14, 2010


By James Burke/Epoch Times Staff, Aug. 13, 2010 –

A Vice-President of the European Parliament has said that missing Chinese human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng must play a role in the future of a free China.

“Gao Zhisheng must be part of the future of a reformed and democratic China,” said Edward McMillan-Scott, a Vice-President of the European Parliament and Founder of the EU’s democracy and human rights initiative.

“[Mr. Gao’s] devotion to the cause of justice and a fair legal system brought him into national prominence as a lawyer,” said Mr. McMillan-Scott after learning that the respected Chinese lawyer had been honoured with the International Human Rights Lawyer Award from the American Bar Association on Friday August 6.

The annual award is given to lawyers well-known for taking on human rights cases and who have in turn, suffered persecution because of their efforts.

“This award is one of many which make Gao indispensable for China’s future,” said Mr. McMillan-Scott.

Since April this year there has been no word of Mr. Gao’s whereabouts or his wellbeing, and it is believed he is being secretly held by the Chinese police.

A dedicated Christian, Mr. Gao was self-educated and would go on to be described by Chinese officials as one of China’s ten best lawyers. He was well known for his work in assisting China’s poor and marginalized, but he met the wrath of Chinese state security once he began defending the rights of persecuted Falun Gong practitioners.

In December 2004, Mr. Gao sent the first of three open letters to Chinese Communist Party leaders — President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao — which described his investigation into the state’s persecution of Falun Gong. His next two letters would include descriptions of extreme methods of torture used by Chinese police during their attempts to force practitioners to denounce their faith.

“His criticism of the repellent and corrupt Beijing regime in his open letters gave him a wider audience as a statesman,” said Mr. McMillan-Scott.

“His examination of the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual movement and his trenchant criticisms of the regime which set them in train mark him out as a true prophet,” he said.

“His captors should learn from recent European and world history: democracy and human rights will triumph.”

For his letters, the Chinese state shut down Mr. Gao’s law firm and took away his license to practice. Mr. Gao and his family also faced continued harassment and intimidation from security agents. In August 2006, he was taken by secret police and later convicted of “subversion.” A subsequent jail sentence was suspended and he was placed under house arrest and monitored.

In the lead up to the 2008 Olympics he wrote an open letter to the US Congress stating that China’s human rights situation was worsening. Subsequently he was taken into police custody for several months and tortured to the point where he considered suicide. After being released he revealed via a statement what he had experienced in custody, despite being warned by police that if he did so he would be killed. His family fled China in January 2009 and a month after this, Mr. Gao was again abducted by police and went missing for more than a year.

In April this year, Mr. Gao resurfaced and gave several restricted media interviews and it was believed he was being closely monitored by police. At the end of that month he was reported missing again, he is now thought to be in police custody.

In 2007 the English translation of Mr. Gao’s memoir “A China More Just” was published. In 2007, 2008, and 2010, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr. McMillan-Scott has been a long time campaigner for reform and democracy in China and was in contact with Mr. Gao before he disappeared. According to his website, in May 2006, Mr. McMillan-Scott visited Beijing on a fact finding mission and all the Chinese with whom he had contact with were arrested, imprisoned and in some cases tortured.

The Epochtimes

Posted in China, Edward McMillan-Scott, Europe, Freedom of Speech, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Awarded Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Important for China’s Future, Says Vice-President of the European Parliament

Missing Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Honored With International Human Rights Award

Posted by Author on August 8, 2010


By James Burke/Epoch Times Staff, Aug.7, 2010 –

Gao Zhisheng's 17-year-old daughter Grace accepted the International Human Rights Lawyer Award on his behalf at an event held in San Francisco on Friday, Aug. 6. (Huang Yiyan/The Epoch Times)

Gao Zhisheng, a missing Chinese attorney, has been honored with an international human rights award from the American Bar Association (ABA). With Mr. Gao missing in China, his 17-year-old daughter Grace accepted the International Human Rights Lawyer Award on his behalf at an event held in San Francisco on Friday, Aug. 6.

The annual award is given to lawyers well-known for taking on human rights cases and who have in turn, suffered persecution because of their efforts.

Coming from an impoverished background, Mr.. Gao was self-educated and would go on to be described by Chinese officials as one of China’s ten best lawyers. A dedicated Christian, he was well known for his work in assisting China’s poor and marginalized but he met the wrath of Chinese state security once he began defending the rights of persecuted Falun Gong practitioners.

“Because of that work, his law license was taken from him in 2005,” said an ABA posting on the International Law Prof Blog. “In 2006, he was charged with subversion and sentenced to house arrest. In 2007, just before the Olympics, he wrote a letter to the US Congress to explain the human rights situation. He was arrested and reportedly tortured for a period of almost 60 days,” said the ABA posting.

“He told a journalist about that experience and said that the loss of dignity made him feel as if he was nothing but an animal. His family was also arrested and allegedly tortured. His wife and two children were able to escape from China in a harrowing journey to the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, and later arrived in the United States last year.”

Mr. Gao’s current whereabouts are unknown and there are concerns for his well-being and safety. In 2007 the English translation of his memoir A China More Just was published, and in 2008 Mr. Gao was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In December last year ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm wrote to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton describing the conditions that lawyers face in China and asked the US State Department to step up its activities to help protect Chinese lawyers.

With more than 400,000 members the American Bar Association, is the largest voluntary professional association in the world.

The Epochtimes

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Disappearance of China’s Top Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Demands Action

Posted by Author on July 6, 2010


Editorials, The Washington Post, Tuesday, July 6, 2010 –

A MAN DISAPPEARS. He is subjected to excruciating torture — his body broken until he is scarcely recognizable — and threatened with death unless he disavows his beliefs and embraces the Party. It sounds like something out of the writing of George Orwell. But this is the story of Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Chinese lawyer whose case has drawn international attention, and who has now vanished for a second time.

Mr. Gao’s story is astonishing. With only a middle-school education, he taught himself law and went on to rank among China’s top lawyers, becoming a dedicated advocate for justice and the rule of law. His writings earned international attention, from “A China More Just,” a book detailing his struggles, to his impassioned open letters denouncing China’s human rights failures. He took on sensitive cases most other lawyers avoided, even asserting the rights of detained Falun Gong members to judicial review. As a result of his activism, he has been kidnapped, tortured and disappeared. Last year, he vanished for more than a year, emerging this March under tight scrutiny from authorities, forced to abandon his human rights efforts and seeming broken. In April, he vanished again.

And he is one of the few “disappeared” Chinese known to the public. More than 400,000 prisoners are said to be languishing in the “black jails,” labor camps and detention centers of China. In the year following Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s disastrous remarks that human rights must not “interfere” with U.S.-China relations, the Chinese government’s crackdown on those who strive to build the rule of law has only broadened. Citizens blog, tweet and engage in discourse — until their comments are censored, their opinions removed and they are arrested.

Increased international attention may bring back Mr. Gao. But this will not solve the problem.

President Obama has just invited Chinese President Hu Jintao for a state visit. He must allow human rights — and Mr. Gao — to interfere. For years, Chinese lawyers like Mr. Gao have struggled to build the rule of law, case by case. The United States must support democratic processes and the authority of the legal system. A China in which the law is respected, where citizens have a say in their government and can count upon it to protect their rights, rather than depending upon the whim of Communist Party leaders, would be a great leap forward for individuals and businesses alike.

The Washington Post

Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Disappearance of China’s Top Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Demands Action

Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Missing Again

Posted by Author on May 10, 2010


by David Kilgour, via MWC News –

Gao (Zhisheng)
is the thrice-nominated candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize (2007, ‘08, ‘10) whose work in the face of great personal danger has won him the sobriquet “Conscience of China”.  Last week (April 30), after a brief release, he disappeared again; all of us in the democratic governance world should pressure the party-state to say where China’s best-known lawyer is now.

He represented the most vulnerable without fear– disabled children, dismissed workers and death row inmates. He has also defended coal miners, house-church members, petitioners to the government, and home-demolition victims. He cares deeply for ordinary Chinese people and is indignant at the countless injustices of the legal system.

Three of his clients were Yang Maodong, Zheng Yichun, and Pastor Cai Zhuohua. Yang was detained for providing legal advice to villagers in southern China, who were attempting to unseat a village leader for corruption. Zheng, a journalist and former professor, was sentenced to seven years for his online writings. Cai was imprisoned for three years for printing copies of the Bible.

Gao was born in the hillside cave in which his family lived in northern China. His parents could not afford to send him to school, so he listened outside classroom windows to get a basic education. Starting as a migrant worker and then going underground as a coal miner at the age of 15, he later joined the People’s Liberation Army, where he met his future wife (Geng He), obtained a secondary education and became a member of the Communist Party.

On discharge, Gao became a street vendor, but also studied to become a lawyer, and was among the one percent of the self-trained candidates who passed the bar exam in 1994. In 2001, China’s Ministry of Justice named him one of the country’s ten “honour lawyers” in a national television competition.

His representation of farmers losing their land to developers for little or no compensation and of Christians was serious enough to the party bosses. Doing the same for Falun Gong practitioners, after the regime had banned lawyers from representing them, was completely unacceptable……. (more details from MWC News)

Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Missing Again

Sentencing highlights China’s deteriorating human rights (1)

Posted by Author on April 13, 2010


By Ed Flanagan, NBC Researcher, MSNBC, Apr. 13, 2010-

The sudden reappearance 2 weeks ago of long missing Chinese human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, near his hometown in Shaanxi province brought an end to the rampant speculation here over his well being and status in China. However, Gao’s unwillingness or inability to provide independent media with details of his detention at the hands of Chinese state security raises continued questions over China’s rights record and is yet another dark capstone in what has been so far, a very bad year for human rights in China.

It was just 14 months ago when Gao, a prominent human rights lawyer, was escorted out of his Beijing house by state security agents and completely off the grid by which outsiders can track political prisoners in China.

Gao, a longtime critic of the Chinese government and frequent champion of social issues deemed sensitive by the Chinese government such as Falun Gong, underground Christian churches and forced evictions of farmers, had been detained multiple times prior to last year and had in fact been given a 3 year jail sentence in December 2006 for subversion that was eventually suspended.

However, Gao’s vocal criticisms of the government only earned him repeated brushes with China’s Public Security Bureau (PSB). Increasingly, confrontations between Gao and the PSB became more violent as security agents resorted to brutal torture sessions and beatings which he wrote about in detail 2 years ago while in home detention under tight government surveillance.

In his writing, Gao described going in for a “re-education talk” only to find himself subjected to hours of torture that involved severe beatings, electric shocks to his genitals and cigarettes being put out on his face.

It was with this previous experience in mind that many feared the worst after his February 2009 disappearance. What made Gao’s plight so irregular though was the government’s unwillingness to provide even basic details about his location and status over such a prolonged period of time.

Asked in January this year about Gao’s whereabouts, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu, would only say that, “he is where he should be.” Meanwhile, Chinese embassy staff in the United States insisted that Gao was alive and well in Xinjiang.

Gao’s sudden reappearance late last month then begged the question: where had Gao been and why was he released? Answers to these critical questions are understandably not coming from the government, but surprisingly, have been equally unforthcoming from Gao himself.

In an interview earlier this week – likely to be his last, due to his sensitive status and conditions set out in his parole – Gao appeared “subdued” and unwilling to provide details of his 14 month ordeal. Though he reported his health was fine, he appeared thinner and concerned primarily with reuniting with his wife and daughter, who had fled China just prior to his disappearance and now live in asylum in the United States.

“I completely lost control of my emotions,” said Gao tearfully, upon returning to his Beijing home and seeing his families shoes still lined up near the door, “because to me these are the three dearest people in the world and now, we’re like a kite with a broken string.”

“I don’t have the capacity to persevere. On the one hand, it’s my past experiences. It’s also that these experiences greatly hurt my loved ones. This ultimate choice of mine, after a process of deep and careful thought, is to seek the goal of peace and calm.”…… (to be cont’d)

Posted in Beijing, China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Sentencing highlights China’s deteriorating human rights (1)

Chinese Scholars Acclaim Gao Zhisheng for His Inspirational Courage

Posted by Author on April 12, 2010


Scholars throughout China expressed their admiration and unwavering support for Gao Zhisheng, when interviewed by The Epoch times. They spoke of his courage in standing up for Falun Gong, of the impact his sacrifice and selfless actions have had, and of their confidence that his legacy will continue to inspire others.

Chinese human rights crusader Gao had been missing for over a year when he resurfaced in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press on April 8. At that time he stated he would no longer criticize the government. He is hoping he will be allowed to reunite with his family who had secretly fled China in early 2009 to escape incessant harassment by authorities.

Sun Wenguang, a retired professor at Shandong University, said people were excitedly spreading the news that Gao has survived his ordeal. He described him as “a very noble man,” and hopes his freedom is soon restored.

Ai Xiaoming, a professor at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University, said the news that Gao is still alive came as a relief.

She commented on his photo which was published by the Associated Press. “It hurt me to see the recent photo. His face and eyes are very different from what they used to be, which says a lot about the physical and mental torture he has suffered. If we cannot manage to put an end to the on-going violence and torture, perhaps one day all of us will wear a similar expression”, she added.

Wang Zang is an independent scholar and poet from Guizhou Province. “What Gao has been through is cruelty beyond our imagination. It is distressing and painful to even read about it,” he said.

In early 2009, Gao Zhisheng published a letter in which he recounted in great detail the tortures he experienced after being kidnapped by the communist authorities in 2007. He disappeared shortly after releasing the information.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been doing its utmost to eradicate those who speak up for Falun Gong by devastating them mentally and spiritually,” Wang said.

Enormous impact

Professor Sun Wenguang considers Gao’s achievements truly remarkable. “Gao Zhisheng spoke up for Falun Gong and called for an investigation. For that, he was detained and tortured. However, he persisted and even made public what he had suffered, which lead to even greater persecution. What he has done is truly brave—something no ordinary person could ever accomplish.”

Wang Zang spoke of the significance of Gao Zhisheng—a someone who had been recognized as one of the “Ten Outstanding Lawyers of China”—standing up for Falun Gong. “Under Gao Zhisheng’s influence, many lawyers began to defend Falun Gong practitioners. In a sense, Gao has exerted his influence not only on the legal profession, but also on the democratic movement of China as a whole. I think he has had an enormous impact.”

“The fact that Gao Zhisheng did such great things, that he stood and spoke for Falun Gong, shows he must have a noble soul. Without that, it would be impossible for one to accomplish so much,” Wang said.

Wang added, “Gao has given strength to many, has lit up the hearts of many victims with warmth and courage, and has kept their hope alive. The significance of all this eclipses the slander and attacks against him. Light will penetrate the clouds, and no slander can obscure it.”

Beijing scholar Fan Yafeng also spoke of his deep respect for Gao Zhisheng and the enormous contributions he has made to China’s human rights movement in the past few years. He acknowledged the huge sacrifice that both Gao and his family have made. Because of Gao Zhisheng, he said, more influential people will step forward, ultimately turning China into a country with less violence and suffering. ( The Epochtimes)

Posted in Activist, China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Lawyer, News, People, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off on Chinese Scholars Acclaim Gao Zhisheng for His Inspirational Courage

The Return of Chinese Regime’s ‘Revolutionary Opera’ Targets the World- On Gao Zhisheng’s Forced Disappearance and Reappearance

Posted by Author on April 11, 2010


By Matthew Robertson, Epoch  Times Staff –

The Chinese Communist Party’s boasts about improvements in its human rights record are a lot like the Beijing “revolutionary operas” composed by Madame Mao during the Cultural Revolution. Then, the target for indoctrination was limited to the Chinese people, and citizens had no escape. Now, the target is the world, the emptiness of the gestures visible for all to see, and participation is voluntary.

The case of maverick human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng illustrates the trend. Gao, whose high profile disappearance more than a year ago drew international attention, was recently reported to have been staying in a retreat in a mountain range for the last six months. It was the crescendo of a series of risible claims about his condition, ranging from his having “gone missing” while out walking, to having been gainfully employed in the remote western Xinjiang Province.

Parallels come easily between the recent, obviously absurd, suggestions about the subject of one of the most sensitive and high-profile political repressions in China in recent times, and the equally farcical “revolutionary operas” staged by the CCP during the 1960s. In both cases the nonsensical nature of the Party’s pronouncements is on full display.

During the Cultural Revolution, arias from the “eight model operas” were broadcast across every medium, as Huo Wang (1998) recounts in Xing Lu’s “Rhetoric of the Chinese Cultural Revolution” published in 2004 : “Model operas are the only art form left in the whole of China. You cannot escape from listening to them. You hear them every time you turn on the radio. You hear them from loudspeakers every time you go outside.”

The traditional (called “bourgeois”) Beijing opera was transformed (see warped) by Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, to fulfill the CCP’s ideological obligations. The operas had three goals, according to Lu. The first was to “affirm the correctness” of Mao’s theory of “the armed struggle of the masses”; the second was indoctrinating the Chinese people with the idea that there had always been a class struggle between the proletarian and the bourgeoisie; and the third was to present a “heroic characterization of workers, peasants, and soldiers.”

In a similar way, the CCP’s pronouncements about its adherence to the rule of law and improvements in its human rights record aim at persuading the world that the CCP should be ruling China and leading it into the future, and that progress toward civil society is being made.

Forcing Gao Zhisheng to make a phone call in the presence of friendly agents from the Public Security Bureau is another example. It perpetrates the obvious falsehood that he is free and has been for six months, and moreover, free to the extent that he could take time out to collect his feelings in the serenity of an ancient mountain range. It is performance of a similar order to the politically encoded displays of revolutionary opera: supposed to convince observers of an idea that is obviously untrue, with the threat of repercussions for non-acceptance.

In the global modern context “non-acceptance” means Western government’s public criticism of China’s human rights and civil society record; repercussions by the regime include the threat of “damaged relations.”

Today the CCP continues to indoctrinate and subordinate the Chinese people. This relies on a combination of increasingly sophisticated propaganda that weds the Party-State to the idea of China as a nation, and the underlying possibility of coercion, also sophisticated, ranging from difficulties in obtaining cooperation from the state in business affairs, to labor camps and dungeons of torture as experienced by Gao.

The farce is also exported to the world in pronouncements of progress, and carefully scripted public drama, like having Gao pretend he is free. During the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese people had no choice but to nod in agreement. Today, the world can see clearly the games that are being played, but still, often, nods in agreement.

Original article: Human Rights Performed: The Return of ‘Revolutionary Opera’, The Epochtimes

Posted in China, Communist Party, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Lawyer, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on The Return of Chinese Regime’s ‘Revolutionary Opera’ Targets the World- On Gao Zhisheng’s Forced Disappearance and Reappearance

Photo Shows Signs of Torture of Reappeared Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on April 9, 2010


The wife of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng cried when she saw a picture of him taken this week in Beijing.

Gao had been abducted on Feb. 4, 2009 by Chinese security agents and held incommunicado until Jan. 20, 2010. On April 7 the Associated Press reported that Gao had been allowed to return to his apartment in Beijing. A photo of Gao accompanied the AP report, the first photo of Gao released since this latest detention of him.

Geng He, Gao’s wife, is living in the United States with their two children. She told a New Tang Dynasty TV reporter that she wept a long time when she first saw the photo. She wept again while on the phone with the reporter describing the photo.

According to Geng He, in the photo Gao looks as if he has aged 20 years. She mentioned the look in his eyes, his emaciated appearance and his newly grey hair as giving the impression he had suddenly aged. She wondered what had been done to him this past year.

According to the AP report, Gao has decided to give up criticizing the Chinese regime and hopes to be reunited with his family. Gao’s wife and two children fled Beijing Jan. 9, 2009 and, after crossing into Thailand, immigrated to the United States.

Gao’s Face ‘Deformed’

According to a report by Radio Free Asia, Beijing lawyer Li Heping visited Gao on April 7. Li said he had not seen Gao for one or two years.

According to Li, Gao’s face showed some deformation. Li said, he felt that Gao must have experienced tremendous suffering and Li assumed he had endured torture. According to Li, when someone has gone through extremely harsh conditions, the facial expressions would appear to be distorted.

Gao’s situation, according to Li, is not what he can choose. Gao told Li that as long as he does not publish articles, he would have a certain degree of freedom.

Li said the situation looked better than when Gao was last in Beijing. Formerly, Gao had been kept under house arrest, and several security agents were constantly visible outside and even inside his apartment. Right now, Gao has no telephone or internet connection.

Li said that during their meeting, Gao kept coughing. Gao told him that the coughing worsens when he tries to go to sleep. Gao said he had seen a doctor about the persistent coughing, but the cough had not improved.

Gao said that upon his return to Beijing he was especially pained by the absence of his family. Gao told Li he has no plans at this time to visit the United States and reunite with his family. It is very doubtful the regime would allow Gao to leave China anytime soon.

Li also learned during his chat with Gao that, before his return to Beijing, Gao had gone to northern Shanxi Province to sweep tombs. Northern Shanxi Province is Gao’s home and sweeping a tomb is a traditional Chinese practice that honors the dead.

– Source (video, in Chinese): NTD TV, via The Epochtimes

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Reappearance of Missing Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Raises Doubts

Posted by Author on April 9, 2010


VOA News, 09 April 2010 –

The announcement from Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng that he is to retire from activism have many fearing he is under immense pressure from the authorities to give up his career. Peter Simpson reports from Beijing.

Though most of the mystery surrounding human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s disappearance has now been solved with his return to Beijing, doubts about his well-being remain.

Gao says he will give up activism and championing the rights of China’s disadvantaged groups.

Joshua Rosenzweig is from the Dui Hua Foundation rights group – which campaigned for Gao’s release. He says he is concerned Gao has been forced by Chinese security authorities to choose between his career and his family.

And he says it is still unclear if Gao has been freed or if he is still under police surveillance or even detention.

“It would be easier to accept Gao’s choice and his statement if there wasn’t still the strong suspicion that those choices are not being made wholly voluntarily and he’s been subjected to a great deal of pressure and even coercion,” he said.

Gao disappeared in January 2009, when he was taken into police custody. For more than a year, his family and associates had no idea of where he was. This week, he unexpectedly returned to his home in Beijing, where he spoke with journalists.

Looking thinner than before he was charged with subversion and taken away, the often tearful Gao said that he had been through what he described as cruel experiences.

He said he now wants to put the past behind him.

Gao says the main basis for given up activism is for the sake of his family. He adds that being reunited with his loved ones is his instinctive goal.

He says his children need him as they grow up.

Gao says he knows his decision to retire will disappoint many – but he wants what he describes as relative control over his life.

Rosenzweig says international pressure from governments and the foreign media had forced Beijing to let the world know where and how Gao was.

And he says the loss of the lawyer – who spoke up for the poor and oppressed groups such as the Falun Gong spiritual movement – would leave a gaping hole in Chinese activism.

Gao’s wife and two children live in the United States. They escaped from China following his arrest. (VOA News)

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Doubts Remain Over Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s Freedom

Posted by Author on April 3, 2010


NTD TV News, Apr. 2, 2010-

Friends, family, and the international community sighed a breath of relief when Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng made contact with the public on Sunday, March 28th. Gao says he’s now free after he went missing for more than a year when Chinese security agents took him from his home.

Chairman of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party Albert Ho believes recent international pressure on the Chinese regime to account for Gao’s disappearance prompted Gao’s apparent claim of freedom. But Ho believes Gao is still under threat. Ho’s two assistants spoke with Gao.

[Albert Ho, Chairman of Hong Kong Democratic Party]:

“We felt that he was not freely expressing himself, and believe he was being watched. He may even be speaking under great threat. Their goal is just to tell you that Gao is still alive.”

This suspicion is shared by many who’ve spoken with Gao. Beijing-based human rights lawyer Li Heping told Radio Free Asia that Gao was eager to get off the phone.

[Li Heping, Beijing Human Rights Lawyer]:
“When I spoke with him on the phone, I clearly felt he wasn’t free. We only spoke for two to three minutes, and then he sighed and said, ‘I’ll call you later when it’s convenient, now I have some friends around and some things to take care of.’ And he wanted to hang up. It’s clear that someone was hinting to him not to speak any more.”

Albert Ho says the Chinese regime must give a clear explanation for why Gao is still not free.

[Albert Ho, Chairman of Hong Kong Democratic Party]:
“He has no freedom to move around, no freedom to work, and he cannot contact the outside to express himself freely. Regarding the freedom that’s been taken away from him, I believe the Chinese government has the responsibility to give an explanation.”

Gao previously published an account of the severe torture he endured when he was captured by Chinese authorities in 2007. For now, concerns for Gao’s safety remain. (by NTD TV)

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Long Live Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on April 1, 2010


The Wall Street Journal, Apr.1, 2010-

China has many ways of punishing political dissenters: There are the usual methods like putting people in jail, harassing them with constant surveillance, or resorting to physical torture. And then there is the special form of retribution that seems to have been invented for Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer once known for his fearlessness in handling politically sensitive cases.

Mr. Gao was taken away by authorities in February last year after constant harassment, and by fall was rumored to be dead when police described him as “missing.” His crime was to be outspoken about government abuses, which he knew a lot about thanks to his work representing persecuted religious minorities and land evictees. Authorities refused to answer questions about his whereabouts, except to say he was “where he should be.” His wife and children fled to the United States just before he disappeared.

This week Mr. Gao resurfaced, but under similarly mysterious circumstances. His captors appear to have given him a cell phone, perhaps in response to international pressure, and he has spoken to several friends and family members who confirm he is alive. He says he has been “released,” but is unable to speak freely and seems to be accompanied by others. He may be captive under a kind of house arrest.

His case is important not only because of the work that he himself has done, although that is certainly admirable. Rather it’s emblematic of China’s deteriorating legal and human-rights situation. The Communist Party leadership is increasingly tightening the screws on dissent, from locking up dissidents to censoring media.

According to the Dui Hua Foundation, a prisoner advocacy group, there are around 5,687 political and religious prisoners China today. Mr. Gao’s reappearance is an event to celebrate, but there’s still a long road ahead of him, and for others like him who are fighting for a freer China. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Missing lawyer Gao Zhisheng calls from northern China, but exact whereabouts still a mystery

Posted by Author on March 30, 2010


By Paul Peachey, The Independent,UK, Monday, 29 March 2010 –

One of China’s most prominent human-rights lawyers, who went missing a year ago, resurfaced mysteriously yesterday with a series of cryptic telephone calls from a Buddhist mountain retreat.

Gao Zhisheng, a prominent dissident, said he was “free at present” but refused to say exactly where he was in northern China amid speculation that he was being followed by the authorities. “I just want to be in peace and quiet for a while and be reunited with my family,” Mr Gao, whose wife and children fled to the US just before he went missing, said in one telephone call.

“Most people belong with family,” he added. “I have not been with mine for a long time. This is a mistake and I want to correct this mistake.”

Mr Gao was one of a new breed of civil-liberties lawyers who took on sensitive cases involving underground Christians and the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement before a series of run-ins with the authorities.

He vanished on 4 February last year while out walking in his home town in central China, sparking speculation that he had been “disappeared” by security forces because of his previous work and criticisms of the government over rights abuses.

Amid mounting international concern over his fate, the Foreign Secretary David Miliband raised the issue during a visit to China earlier this month, but his Chinese counterpart provided only vague explanations about where he was. The United States and the European Union had previously called on China to investigate his disappearance.

Mr Gao said that he was living in Wutai Shan, a mountain range famous as a Buddhist retreat. But he declined to answer further questions, saying he was not allowed by law, according to Associated Press. Bans on interviews are often a condition of parole.

Li Heping, a Beijing-based human-rights lawyer and friend of Mr Gao’s, said he had also reached him on his mobile phone and they had spoken briefly. Mr Li believed Mr Gao was being followed by authorities. “I believe he does not have freedom,” he said. “First, when we were speaking, he sounded like he wanted to hang up. He told me that he had friends around him. I’m sure that the people around him are limiting what he can say.

“Secondly, he would not tell me exactly where he is when I suggested visiting him,” Mr Li said. “We are very concerned about his situation.”

Mr Gao was convicted of “inciting subversion” at a one-day trial in 2006 after representing individuals persecuted for their religious beliefs and was placed under house arrest.

State media said he was convicted on the basis of articles published on foreign websites. The following year, he wrote an open letter to the US Congress detailing human-rights abuses in the country, for which he was arrested and tortured, according to rights groups.

In a statement made public just before he disappeared last year, he described severe beatings from Chinese security forces, electric shocks to his genitals, and cigarettes held to his eyes during a 2007 detention. His torturers described his torment as a 12-course meal, according to the document, and accused of him of being a traitor. “This is China. It is the Communist Party’s territory,” he claimed he was told. Mr Gao said he was beaten until his eyes became swollen shut.

The constant police surveillance wore on his wife and children and they fled China a month before he disappeared.

The Independent

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Lost Chinese dissident Gao Zhisheng emerges from the dark

Posted by Author on March 30, 2010


ANDREW JACOBS, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, March 30, 2010 –

BEIJING:
Gao Zhisheng, the Chinese rights activist who has been missing for more than a year, has reappeared near his home town in northern China.

In a brief phone call, Mr Gao said he was no longer in police custody but he could not give any details of his predicament. ”I’m fine now but I’m not in a position to be interviewed,” he said. ”I’ve been sentenced but released.”

Mr Gao, 44, told Reuters he had been released about six months ago and was at Wutai mountain, beloved of Buddhist pilgrims because of its many shrines. He said he wanted ”a quiet life” and to rejoin his family.

But friends and human rights groups said they remained concerned about his situation since he seemed to be under surveillance and unable to speak freely.

Since Mr Gao disappeared into the custody of public security staff in February last year, the Chinese government has provided a series of contradictory and cryptic explanations of his whereabouts.

During a previous detention in 2006, Mr Gao said he was tortured by his captors. A lawyer and critic of the Chinese government, Mr Gao gained notoriety for his defence of the most marginalised citizens – farmers evicted from their land; members of underground Christian churches; and practitioners of Falun Gong, the outlawed spiritual movement.

In addition to his legal work, activists say Mr Gao probably infuriated the authorities by writing protest letters to China’s top leaders about the persecution of Falun Gong adherents and by publicly discussing the torture he says he endured.

A month before he disappeared his wife and two children evaded round-the-clock surveillance of their Beijing apartment and escaped to Thailand. They were granted asylum by the US and now live in New York.

Mr Gao’s wife, Geng He, told Agence France-Presse: ”I am tremendously relieved that my husband is alive. I just want Zhisheng to be with his family again. My children and I need him.”

The Sydney Morning Herald

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Prominent Chinese Lawyer ‘Alive,’ Says Friends of Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on March 29, 2010


Radio Free Asia, Mar. 29, 2010-

HONG KONG
— A prominent Chinese civil rights lawyer whose whereabouts have been unknown for more than a year is alive, but has yet to regain full personal liberty, a friend and fellow lawyer said.

“They let him out six months ago,” said Beijing-based rights lawyer Li Heping. “They didn’t tell me about it.”

“When I spoke to him on the phone, I got the distinct impression that he wasn’t completely free,” Li said.

He said Gao, once a top defense lawyer lauded by the ruling Communist Party for his work on behalf of the least privileged in Chinese society, had been handed a suspended sentence for inciting subversion at a one-day secret trial in 2006.

“The three-year suspended sentence lasts for five years. That’s to say that if he commits no crime within five years, then he won’t have to serve the three year jail term,” said Li, who said people under suspended sentence are supposed to be granted liberty if no crime had been committed.

“In accordance with Chinese law, he is supposed to have his personal freedom,” said Li after speaking briefly with Gao.

Gao told Li he is currently staying near the sacred Buddhist mountain of Wutaishan, in northern China’s Shanxi province.

“During our three-minute conversation, he said, ‘Hey, why don’t I call you back later when it’s more convenient for me? Right now I have to do something with a few friends.’ Then he hung up,” Li said.

“I’m pretty sure that someone was indicating to him silently that he shouldn’t talk any more.”

Separated from family

Gao’s wife, Geng He, who along with the couple’s two children was granted political asylum in the United States recently, said she too had recently spoken with Gao.

“I am tremendously relieved that my husband is alive,” Geng said in a statement released by U.S-based political prisoners’ group Freedom Now.

“I am so happy that my children were able to speak to him,” Geng said, adding that she hoped her husband would be allowed to go to the United States as well.

Ming Xia, professor of politics at the City University of New York, said China’s ruling Communist Party had good reason to fear Gao.

“Firstly, he spoke out on behalf of victims of the anti-Falun Gong campaign and took on cases in which he defended them,” Xia said. “This is a hugely sensitive matter for the top echelons of China’s leadership, and it worries them very much.”

“The second is that Gao Zhisheng…is a person whose religious convictions are very strong, so he’s got God on his side.”

Xia said that confronted with a such a prominent activist fueled by religious faith, the authorities appeared to be trying to make the lawyer less relevant in contemporary Chinese society.

“If they don’t kill him outright, they will separate him from his family and make him die ideologically, and in terms of his social impact, and make society forget him,” Xia said.

“At the same time he no longer has the power to effect any public actions. That’s probably the basic line of reasoning which they are now in the process of implementing.”

Dangerous profession

Gao’s case has drawn international attention for the unusual length of his disappearance and for his own earlier graphic reports of the torture he said he endured in detention.

Born in poverty, Gao became a member of the Communist Party and was named by the government a decade ago as one of the 10 best lawyers in China.

He drew displeasure from Beijing by taking on cases related to corruption, religious freedom, and how the government has treated the Falun Gong movement—which the government has labeled a dangerous cult.

His law license was taken away, and in 2005 he resigned his Party membership.

Gao has given numerous interviews to foreign media, including graphic accounts of torture he said he suffered during another detention in 2007.

Civil rights lawyers and international rights advocates say the entire Chinese legal profession is under increasing strain, with many law firms losing their licenses—or being threatened that they will have their licenses revoked—should they choose to take on sensitive cases.

Radio Free Asia

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Canada can help imprisoned Chinese hero Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on March 27, 2010


By The Hon. David Kilgour on March 25, 2010, via The Metro Politain, Canada-

Members of Gao Zhisheng’s international legal team, on which I am privileged to work, have submitted a petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, urging the UN to declare that the Chinese government’s detention of Gao violates international law. Our team hopes that the UN will decide accordingly, but also that the Harper government and opposition party leaders will speak out on behalf of this extraordinary human rights lawyer, who ‘was disappeared’ by the Chinese party-state over a year ago.

China’s rise is not happening in a vacuum. China depends on the rest of the world for the ingredients of its growing importance; it looks abroad for natural resources, export markets, and diplomatic legitimacy. Canada, as a significant trade partner and fellow member of the G-20, has an important role to play in shaping the path of Chinese ascension.

But that role must not be defined by trade alone. Prime Minister Harper recognized this after taking office in 2006. “I think Canadians want us to promote our trade relations worldwide,” he said. “But I don’t think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values.” And, in his first trip to China in December, he reiterated Canada’s commitment to being a “vocal advocate and an effective partner for human rights reform” in China.

It is time to put these words into action. The Canadian government can begin by urging China to follow its own laws and release Gao Zhisheng or, at the very least,  notify him and his family of the charges he faces.

Gao  has been missing since Feb. 4, 2009, when security agents seized him from his ancestral home in Shaanxi province. More than one year later, he has yet to be charged with a crime. No-one has notified his family of the reasons and location of his detention- blatant violations of China’s own criminal procedure laws.

Last month, the Chinese Embassy in Washington claimed that Gao is working in Urumqi in China’s far West. But authorities have not provided any evidence of this (though a few patently doctored photos surfaced on the Internet); nor have they given any notice to his family. Canada should press China to verify Gao’s supposed location and well-being.

To those of us who know Gao and his work, his detention by Chinese authorities was inevitable. His work on behalf of those persecuted for their religious beliefs brought the wrath of the Chinese government upon him. He was convicted in 2006 of “subversion,” detained again in 2007 and horribly tortured. Gao’s current unconscionable detention is even more terrifying; China experts say that even as Beijing has stepped up its crackdown of political dissidents, its near-complete silence on Gao Zhisheng is chilling and unprecedented.

Over the past decade trade with China it rose by $35.8 billion, or 340 percent. It is no mystery why trade is at the top of the agenda with China. But this is not unique to Canada. China’s trade with nearly every country in the world is growing at exponential rates. And so far, nearly every country in the world has used trade as justification for dropping human rights from the agenda with China.

Canada can step into this void by speaking out about Gao Zhisheng. As the Speech from the Throne declared recently, “Our communities are built on the rule of law…Canadians want a justice system that delivers justice.” We should also promote justice and the rule of law in China. With the disappearance of Gao and the imprisonment of other leading rights lawyers, Chinese authorities are clearly targeting lawyers, one by one, as key agents of change within China. And so, as with Gao, the authorities are stripping  them of their licenses, shutting down their law firms, and imprisoning them.

It might already be too late for Gao Zhisheng. But if we have the courage to tell Beijing that its current culture of impunity cannot last, there may be hope for other rights lawyers, for the rule of law, and for justice to be delivered, in China as it is in Canada. All we need to ask is that China follow its own laws, and respect the rights guaranteed by its own Constitution. Is some amount of trade at stake? Perhaps. But so is the full measure of our conscience.

The Metro Politain

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China’s Missing Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on March 19, 2010


By JEROME A. COHEN and BETH SCHWANKE, Via New York Times, March 18, 2010 –

Peter Gao is six and wants to be an astronaut. If you ask him why, he’ll explain that he wanted to be a lawyer, but the Chinese government “really hates lawyers.” He’s pretty sure that it likes astronauts.

The Chinese government “disappeared” Peter’s father, Gao Zhisheng, on Feb. 4, 2009. According to various Chinese officials over the past year, Mr. Gao is, “in Beijing,” “gone missing,” “where he should be,” “working in Urumqi,” the capital of China’s northwestern Xinjiang Province, and now “sentenced for subversion.”

We call on the Chinese government to stop stalling and produce Gao Zhisheng: a literal case of habeas corpus.

Mr. Gao’s efforts as one of China’s leading human rights lawyers made his latest detention inevitable. In 2006, after representing individuals persecuted by the government for their religious beliefs, Mr. Gao was convicted of “inciting subversion” and began serving a suspended sentence under 24-hour police surveillance — and harassment.

In 2007, after he wrote an open letter to the U.S. Congress detailing human rights violations in China, authorities again detained and tortured him.

Mr. Gao’s publicly released account of this torture, which included toothpicks in his genitals and electric shocks, ends with the admonition of authorities not to tell anyone of his torture — or be killed.

Mr. Gao’s extraordinary journey to become “China’s conscience” and a recurring nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize began in his family’s traditional home. After time as a coal miner and in the People’s Liberation Army, Mr. Gao took his legal exams without the benefit of university. The government later named him one of China’s 10 best lawyers. And, despite the risks, he began defending those people the government persecutes.

Perhaps even more extraordinary is the Chinese government’s failure to officially acknowledge Mr. Gao’s detention. It’s unmistakable that Beijing is increasing its crackdown on political dissidents; however, the Chinese government’s complete abandonment of even the pretext of the rule of law with regards to Mr. Gao’s detention is unprecedented. Read the rest of this entry »

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China adds to confusion over missing rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on March 16, 2010


DPA Via earthtimes.org, Mar. 16, 2010-

Beijing – China on Tuesday said it had sentenced a leading rights lawyer to three years in prison but it was apparently referring to a sentence passed in 2006, adding to the confusion since the lawyer disappeared 13 months ago. “What I can tell you now is that Gao Zhisheng was sentenced to three years imprisonment suspended for five years for inciting and subverting state power,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

Qin declined to elaborate on his statement or say if he was announcing a new sentence against Gao, referring questions to “judicial authorities.”

China had tried to silence Gao by passing a three-year suspended prison sentence for subversion at a closed trial in December 2006.

Gao, 44, who was nominated for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, was detained by police again in February 2009, and relatives and supporters said they have not seen him since then.

Qin’s comment is the latest in a series of vague and sometimes bizarre statements on Gao’s whereabouts by Chinese officials.

Last month, a Chinese embassy official in Washington told the US-based Dui Hua Foundation that Gao was “working” in Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region of Xinjiang, and “has been in contact with his wife and relatives in China.”

Gao’s wife, Geng He, who lives in exile in the United States, later denied that she had any recent contact with Gao.

His brother, Gao Zhiyi, was told by a Beijing police officer who detained the lawyer that he “got lost and went missing while out on a walk” on September 25, US-based China Aid and other groups reported in January.

Asked about that report in mid-January, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Gao was “where he should be” but declined to elaborate.

In another statement when asked about Gao’s whereabouts in February, Ma said, “I don’t know where he is. China has 1.3 billion people.”

Gao’s last contact with his brother was a telephone call in early September, when he was only able to say, “I’m OK,” before the line went dead, China Aid said.

Geng and the couple’s two children made a dramatic escape from close police surveillance and arrived in the United States in January 2009 after travelling overland from China to Thailand.

Gao is a self-taught lawyer who built a reputation as a stout defender of people who suffered injustices at the hands of Chinese government officials and the police.

The government closed his Beijing-based Shengzhi law firm in 2005 after he called via the internet for an end to the persecution of members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement who were sent to a re-education camp.

Earthtimes.org

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International lawyers urge UN to condemn detention of missing China rights advocate Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on March 11, 2010


JURIST (http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/), Mar. 10, 2010-

[JURIST] An international group of human rights lawyers on Tuesday petitioned [text, PDF; press release, PDF] the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to condemn to the detention of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, missing for more than a year. The group is seeking a declaration that Gao’s detention is a violation of international law. According to the petition, Gao’s detention violates both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [texts]:

Mr. Gao’s current predicament is merely the culmination of a pattern and practice by which the Chinese government has consistently and clearly violated Article 19 of both the Universal Declaration and the ICCPR. Without an arrest warrant to attest otherwise, we can only assume that Mr. Gao’s current detention is related to his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government’s human rights record relating to religious freedom. Detaining Mr. Gao as punishment for or to prevent his defense of persecuted religious groups is a violation of Article 19(2).

The group also clams that Gao’s detention violates Chinese law.

Last month, human rights organization Dui Hua Foundation reported that the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC claims that Gao is working in the Urumqi region of China. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu [official profile] said in late January that Gao is “where he should be.” Earlier in January, Chinese lawyers and US-based rights group ChinaAid called on Beijing police to conduct a search for Gao. Gao has been detained since February 4, 2009.

JURIST

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Wife of missing Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng denies Chinese Official’s claims

Posted by Author on February 18, 2010


AFP, Feb. 18, 2010-

BEIJING
— The wife of prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has denied reports that he has made contact with her since he disappeared more than a year ago.

Gao, who has been nominated for a Nobel prize by US lawmakers and was feared by some to be dead, is “working” in the Xinjiang region, the human rights group Dui Hua Foundation said this week, citing Chinese officials.

The group said the news about Gao came from the Chinese embassy in Washington, which also said he had been in touch with his wife Geng He, who fled to the United States early last year.

But Geng released a statement dated February 17 through Human Rights in China saying she had not been in contact and did not know where he was, adding to suspicions he may have died in custody.

“Unless the Chinese government truly makes good on what it is declaring to the outside world and allows my husband to get in contact with me directly, I have no way of verifying his current whereabouts and whether he is safe and free,” she said in the statement.

Beijing has never even confirmed Gao’s arrest.

Once a prominent lawyer and Communist Party member, he has been an outspoken defender of people seeking redress from the government, including exploited workers, underground Christians and the banned Falungong spiritual movement.

Rights groups say security personnel snatched Gao on February 4, 2009 and he has not been heard from since.

According to US-based Christian rights group ChinaAid, the police officer who detained Gao recently told the attorney’s brother that Gao had been “missing” since September 25, sparking fears about his fate……. (AFP)

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