PRAGUE, Czech Republic—A press conference was held today in the Czech Republic Senate in honor of the release of the Czech edition of “A China More Just,” a book authored by the famous Chinese human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng.
Although Gao is one of the most renowned lawyers in China, once he stood up for Falun Gong practitioners—who’ve been persecuted by the Chinese Communist regime for over 11 years—he became a target of persecution himself.
His courage has brought him the support and respect of the European Parliament and now a number of politicians and activists from the Czech Republic have joined ranks in his defense.
Senator Jaromir Stetina delivered a speech at the conference followed by Member of Parliament (MP) Marek Benda, Czech PEN Club chairman, Jiri Dedecek, executive director of the Civic Institute in Prague, Dr. Roman Joch, and associate professor of religious studies at Charles University, Zdenek Vojtisek.
Former MP, Katerina Jacques, chief editor of The Epoch Times Czech Republic, Milan Kajinek, and vice chairman of the Falun Gong Association in the Czech Republic, Bohumil Bartosek, also spoke at the conference.
“Europe, the United States, and the Euro-Atlantic countries, should clearly demand that China uphold the freedom of belief. It should even be a condition—‘Yes, we will do business with you, we will be friends with you, but you must start by upholding the freedom of belief.’ Human belief should not be suppressed,” said Stetina.
“[The point is] those people who stand up to the Chinese regime don’t simply disappear. The world is talking about them. And in the Czech Republic, which is a totally insignificant country to China, this book has been published and this man is known. This book does have an impact on the Chinese regime, even though the authorities there pretend that it doesn’t. It helps the people in China. It is worth it,” said Benda in his speech.
The last speaker, Mr. Vojtisek, was even more specific.
“I’m glad that through Gao Zhisheng’s book we can learn more about the violence suffered by the Falun Gong movement. I also find it very valuable that the testimony contained in the book was given by a man who is not involved in the movement himself.”
Famous Czech singer and activist, Marta Kubisova, folksinger, Josef Nos, and accomplished violist, Jitka Hosprova, also attended the conference.
Video greetings were sent by Vice President of the European Parliament, Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, as well as Gao Genghe, Gao Zhisheng’s wife.
An open letter was signed by all panelists urging Czech President Václav Klaus and Prime Minster Mirek Topolanek, to stand up for Gao when dealing with Chinese officials.
“We believe the Czech Republic is just the right country to stand up for the imprisoned Chinese lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, and it should be done by you—the country’s top representatives. Talks with Chinese officials are often based on economic interests, but a clean conscience is still the most precious commodity,” stated the letter.
Gao was at one time honored as one of the ten best lawyers in China. He dedicated a large part of his career to accepting pro bono cases for handicapped people and forcibly evicted or relocated citizens.But when he tried to defend Falun Gong practitioners, the Chinese regime suddenly found his involvement a threat to their authority.
He was harassed by police and then repeatedly arrested and tortured while in custody. His family meanwhile managed to flee to the United States. Gao’s whereabouts remain unknown, after more than a year.