Missing Christian human rights lawyer resurfaces in secret agent custody

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Gao Zhisheng

(Beijing—Sept. 7, 2017) Beijing authorities confirmed today that a renowned Christian human rights lawyer and two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee who vanished from his home nearly a month ago was kidnapped and is currently incarcerated somewhere in the capital city.

Officials told human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng’s brother today that he was “kidnapped under incarceration” by the Communist Party’s secret security agents and is being held at a secret location within Beijing. Gao disappeared a month ago from his home in Shaanxi province, at which time government personnel reassured his family that they would investigate.

Chinese agents began harassing Gao in 2005, when the Beijing Judicial Bureau revoked his lawyer’s license and ordered his practice to shut down. In December 2006, he was sentenced to a three-year prison term with a five-year probation on falsified charges of “inciting subversion of state power.” However, authorities released him soon afterwards for unstated reasons.

He was taken into custody again on Sept. 21, 2007, and freed 50 days later. During this time in prison, officials used various methods of torture against him, including inserting toothpicks into his genitals, and he recounted his suffering in a piece titled “Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia.”

Almost a month after his wife, son, and daughter fled to the United States in January 2009, Gao vanished again, seized by a dozen police officers at his apartment. He was missing until he suddenly re-appeared on March 27, 2010, closely watched by Domestic Security Protection personnel. Nevertheless, at that time, he was permitted to speak with his family for the first time since his kidnapping. He reached out to friends and international reporters, including Charles Hutzler of the Associated Press, who published an account of his abduction.

He disappeared for another year-and-a-half after informing his family that he would be flying back to Beijing at 10 a.m. on April 20, 2010, following a visit to his in-laws. He never reached his apartment. On Dec. 16, 2011, Chinese state mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency dispatched a brief, English-only report alleging Gao had violated his parole and had been returned to jail in western Xinjiang to serve his original three-year term. He was released on Aug. 7, 2014, and remained under heavy surveillance at his home until he was kidnapped again last month.

In response to Gao’s imprisonment and China’s escalating human rights and religious freedom crisis, ChinaAid president Bob Fu will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with NGO leaders and members of Congress, including Senator Jeff Flake, a prominent member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, and organize urgent diplomatic and civil actions.

Last year, Gao published a book, which was penned in secret and smuggled out of China by ChinaAid. After being translated into English, it was published by the American Bar Association and the Carolina Academic Press and can be purchased here.

Over the years of his career, Gao has remained an unwavering and iconic advocate for human rights and justice in the Chinese legal system and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 and 2010 in reward for his efforts.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Gao Zhisheng, 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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