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Archive for May, 2010

Help Free Gao Zhisheng

Posted by radiofreechina on May 15, 2010

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Gao Zhisheng Missing

Posted by radiofreechina on May 15, 2010

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VOCN Covers Gao Zhisheng

Posted by radiofreechina on May 15, 2010

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Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Missing Again

Posted by radiofreechina on May 15, 2010

Two weeks after release, Christian vanishes while in police custody in northern Xinjiang

By Jeremy Reynalds
Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

DUBLIN (ANS) Gao Zhisheng, a Christian human rights lawyer released by Chinese officials on April 6 and missing again since April 20, is “definitely in the hands of Chinese security forces,” Bob Fu of the China Aid Association (CAA) told Compass Direct News.

“We’ve heard the reports and we’re investigating this closely,” Fu told Compass. “Right now nobody has been able to locate him. The Chinese security forces need to come up with an explanation.”

Compass said Gao, initially seized from his home in Shaanxi Province on Feb. 4 2009 and held by security officials for 13 months, was permitted to phone family members and colleagues in late March. Officials finally returned him to his Beijing apartment on April 6.

In a press conference held in a Beijing teahouse the day after his return, Compass reported Gao said he wanted to be reunited with his family, who fled to the United States in Jan. 2009, and he claimed he no longer had the strength to continue his legal work. He also said he could not comment on the treatment he received while in captivity.

Gao also told a reporter from the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that he expected to travel to Urumqi within days of his release to visit his in-laws.

Compass said witnesses saw Gao leaving his apartment sometime between April 9 and 12 and getting into a vehicle parked outside his building, SCMP reported on April 30. Gao’s father-in-law reportedly confirmed that Gao arrived at his home with an escort of four police officers but spent just one night there before police took him away again.

Gao phoned his father-in-law shortly before he was due to board a flight back to Beijing on April 20. He promised to call again after returning home but failed to do so, according to the SCMP report.

Compass reported Fu said he believes that international pressure forced authorities to allow Gao a brief re-appearance to prove that he was alive before officials seized him again to prevent information leaking out about his experiences over the past year.

Compass said during a previous imprisonment in 2007, Gao’s captors brutally tortured him and threatened him with death if he spoke about his treatment. Gao later described the torture in an open letter published by CAA in 2009.

Compass said Gao came to the attention of authorities early last decade when he began to investigate the persecution of house church Christians and Falun Gong members. In 2005 he wrote a series of open letters to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao accusing the government of torturing Falun Gong members.

When the letters appeared, authorities revoked Gao’s law license and shut down his law firm, Compass said sources told CAA.

Compass said he was given a suspended three-year jail sentence in Dec. 2006, following a confession that Gao later claimed was made under extreme duress, including torture and threats against his wife and children. Gao was then confined to his Beijing apartment under constant surveillance – forbidden to leave his home, use his phone or computer or otherwise communicate with the outside world, according to a report by The New York Times.

A self-taught lawyer and a Communist Party member until 2005, Gao was once recognized by the Ministry of Justice as one of the mainland’s top 10 lawyers for his pro bono work on human rights cases, according to SCMP.

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