One year later, prominent Chinese lawyer still missing

Source:                 www.worldwatchmonitor.org

Date:                      August 13, 2018

 

Brynne Lawrence

The front cover of a book
written while the author,
human rights lawyer Gao
Zhisheng, was under the
direct watch of Chinese
Communist officials.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
ChinaAid

(Yulin, Shaanxi—Aug. 13, 2018) A year ago today, the brother of persecuted Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng went to the attorney’s apartment in China’s Shaanxi province, only to discover him gone. To this day, no one knows where he is.

Initially, Gao’s supporters assumed his disappearance meant a kidnapping similar to the ones he has been subject to over the past decade, but in reality, two sympathizers managed to sneak him out of his home and hide him in the neighboring province of Shanxi. For 23 days, police searched relentlessly for the fugitive, finally crossing provincial borders to track him down. When discovered, Gao vanished into police custody, and his two friends, Shao Zhongguo and Li Fawang were criminally detained.

Beijing officials later said that Gao was under the watch of secret agents within the Chinese capital, but no one has been able to verify their claim. Gao’s family has also not been notified of his whereabouts, and he has not been allowed to see lawyers.

Keeping prisoners in custody for longer than six months without an official charge violates China’s laws, and Gao has now been incarcerated for twice that amount of time with no official accusation.

Prior to his disappearance, Gao, a two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, spent three years confined to his home, monitored by officials. In secrecy, he wrote Unwavering Convictions, a book describing the ruinous nature of the Chinese Communist Party, which locked him away for years because of his work defending religious minorities and others targeted by the government. During his imprisonment, he was tortured three times, as detailed in his piece “Dark Night, Dark Hood, and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia,” and contracted illnesses.

Because of the pressure on their family, Gao’s wife and children fled to the United States in 2009.

After Gao finished Unwavering Convictions, ChinaAid smuggled it out of the country and secured a publishing deal with the Carolina Academic Press and the American Bar Association. The book, which has been translated into English, can be purchased here.

ChinaAid calls on the Chinese Communist Party to release this innocent human rights lawyer and urges international policymakers to pressure China for Gao’s immediate and unconditional freedom in order to safeguard human rights, religious freedom, and rule of law.


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