Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng vanishes

Monday, August 14, 2017

Gao Zhisheng
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Yulin, Shaanxi—Aug. 14, 2017) One of China’s most prominent Christian human rights lawyers has been missing from his home in China’s northwestern Shaanxi province since Sunday.

According to the wife of Gao Zhisheng, a two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and human rights attorney who has been under house arrest since 2014, Gao’s brother discovered he had vanished when he attempted to join him for breakfast. The local police have been alerted are reportedly searching for him.

However, Gao has been a constant target for government persecution due to his repeated defenses of human rights abuse victims, and this is not the first he has disappeared. His troubles began in 2005 when a judicial bureau in Beijing revoked his lawyer’s license and ordered him to close his practice. In December 2006, he was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power and sentenced to a three-year prison term with a five-year probation. For unclear reasons, he was released soon afterward.

In 2007, Gao was arbitrarily held for 50 days in police custody. Later, he published an article titled “Dark, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia,” in which he recounted the various ways officials tortured him, including sticking toothpicks in his genitals.

Less than a month after Gao’s wife and two children fled to the United States, police seized Gao at his apartment in China on Feb. 4, 2009, and his whereabouts remained unknown until March 27, 2010. During his brief time out of prison, he was allowed to speak to family and friends, and even shared his story with international news sources. He vanished again on his way home from his in-laws apartment in Xinjiang in mid-April, and no one knew his whereabouts until Chinese state mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency reported that he had supposedly violated the terms of his parole and would serve a three-year prison term in Xinjiang on Dec. 16, 2011. Gao was released on Aug. 7, 2014 but has remained under strict surveillance in his home.

"We are deeply concerned about this development," said ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu. "We urge the relevant authorities in China to help locate Gao's whereabouts. We ask the international community to pray for Gao's safety and freedom."

ChinaAid has remained a devoted advocate for Gao throughout the 12 years the government has harassed him and regularly helps his family in the United States. When completed his latest book, ChinaAid helped smuggle the manuscript past his Chinese monitors and played an instrumental role in its publication in both Chinese and English. It is available for purchase through the Carolina Academic Press.

ChinaAid reports abuses, such as those suffered by Gao, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

ChinaAid Media Team
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