Chinese Regime Urged to Release Information on Missing Lawyer Gao Zhisheng
Calling Gao Zhisheng, “China’s bravest human rights lawyer”, dozens of rights advocates in China have joined together to find out Gao’s whereabouts. The China Civic Rights Defenders Alliance launched the initiative on October 22nd, a day after Beijing police turned away Gao’s brother who wanted authorities to help look for him.
The Alliance published an open letter, co-signed by rights advocates from around China. They want the Chinese regime to release information on Gao, so he can reunite with his family.
[Chen Qitang, Guangdong Rights Advocate]:
“Look for him together, and get the attention of more people. Gao Zhisheng is a symbol for defending human rights, and he pleads on behalf of the most disadvantaged in society. If the authorities suppress our efforts, we will not rule out a hunger strike for Gao.”
Gao Zhisheng is known for defending some of China’s most vulnerable individuals. He started running into problems in 2005 after urging the Chinese regime to stop persecuting the Falun Gong spiritual group, and openly renouncing his membership to the Chinese Communist Party.
In 2006, Gao was convicted of subversion, and since then he’s been subjected to detention, harassment and surveillance by authorities.
He disappeared last year, shortly after his wife and two children fled to the United States. Gao resurfaced in March this year, as international pressure mounted on the Chinese regime to release him. In April, Gao went missing again.
[Chen Xi, Guizhou Rights Advocate]:
“The Chinese Communist government is absolutely a gangster government. Its treatment of Mr. Gao Zhisheng is unjust, and has caused the country’s people to extend their aid to Gao. What happened to Gao, can in fact happen to every single person in mainland China.”
Last Thursday, Gao Zhisheng’s older brother Gao Zhiyi went to a Beijing police station, hoping to register a missing person’s case. But he says police turned him away, saying they cannot take on the case of Gao, because it’s “special.”
Gao’s relatives and supporters have not had contact with him since April, and fear for his health and safety. In 2009, the 2-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee published an article detailing the gruesome torture he received during his imprisonment in 2007.