Chris Smith: Statement about China's Human Rights Advocates on the 50th Birthday of Imprisoned lawyer Gao

Monday, April 21, 2014

Congressman Chris Smith
China Aid

(Washington, D.C.—April 21, 2014) On Thursday, the office of Congressman Chris Smith distributed the following press release prior to the 50th birthday of the detained Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng (see a full biography).

Gao has disappeared into police custody many times. Most recently, Gao disappeared in February 2009. He reappeared in March 2010 for less than a month before disappearing again. Gao has not been seen since that time.

Statement about China's Human Rights Advocates on the 50th Birthday of Imprisoned lawyer Gao

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) issued the following statement in support of China's human rights advocates on the 50th birthday of imprisoned lawyer Gao Zhisheng:

“Gao Zhisheng will pass another year unlawfully imprisoned and separated from his family,” said Congressman Smith, chairman of the House global human rights subcommittee and co-chairman of the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). “The Chinese government continues to fear the freedoms Gao passionately defended—freedom of religion and speech and the rights of the accused to a fair trial—freedoms that are essential building blocks of stable and prosperous societies. Gao Zhisheng, and others like him, should be celebrated by the Chinese government, not tortured, jailed, or exiled."

Gao’s birthday is April 20.

"It is extremely disappointing that President Xi is presiding over the worst crackdown on dissent in recent memory,” Smith said. “Nonetheless, new leaders are emerging to spotlight and carry on Gao’s work, courageous lawyers and rights advocates who fight to advance justice, fairness, freedom and human dignity in China. They willingly face repression, secure in the belief that the Communist Party cannot long hold back the tide of human history or suppress the Chinese people’s innate desire for freedom and human rights. We pledge to continue to work on their behalf—for Gao Zhisheng's freedom and for a better future in U.S.-China relations.”

Click here for information about a CECC hearing Smith held on Gao, or below for information about the U.S. congressional initiative called the "Defending Freedoms Project" hosted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, of which Smith is an executive member.

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