Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Apparently Free, Doubts Linger
More than a year after Chinese security agents abducted Gao Zhisheng, the prominent Chinese rights lawyer has made contact with the outside world.
On Sunday, Gao telephoned several Western media, including Reuters and the Associated Press. The Christian lawyer told them he was released six months ago, and is now living in Wutai Mountain, a famous Buddhist retreat in northern China.
Gao has also spoken with his two children who fled to the United States with his wife, Geng He. Our correspondent Yi Fan spoke with his family and says they were relieved to know Gao is alive, but they are still concerned about his wellbeing.
[Yi Fan, NTDTV Correspondent]:
“Geng He’s emotions are in a flux. She was very afraid to hear about lawyer Gao being tortured, because she has heard a lot about it before. Because of this, she let her children speak with Gao first, and she didn’t speak on the phone. However, when she tried to call Gao again, she could not get through.”
Gao’s resurfacing comes after increasing international pressure on the Chinese communist regime to explain his whereabouts.
Despite Gao claiming he’s free, there are still doubts about his condition. A number of human rights lawyers who have spoken with Gao say they believe he remains under police surveillance.
Gao was once named one of China’s most promising lawyers. But he became a target of the Chinese regime when he criticized its persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group. In 2006 he was convicted of alleged “subversion.” Although his sentence was suspended, he remained under heavy surveillance and was kidnapped and tortured on several occasions.