A lawyer who is world renowned for his public defiance of the Chinese communist regime has called for ongoing hunger strikes across China in protest against the regime's persecution of innocent people.
Despite being under house arrest and having recently survived an attempted assassination for his outspoken stance on the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Gao Zhisheng published an article on Sunday announcing the establishment of the Hunger Strike Group to Support Human Rights.
“Once fully established, it will carry out symbolic hunger strikes to support citizens who have encountered violence and illegal persecution inside and outside of China,” he stated in his article, which highlighted the role of the judicial system in crushing people's basic human rights.
Gao's call for taking action through hunger strikes was made in cooperation with sixteen other famous supporters of human rights in China, including lawyer Guo Feixiong and Zhao Xin, one of the standing Preparatory Committee members of the Chinese Democracy Party.
Calling for support from across China, the article said that the hunger strikes would rotate from location to location across China, each lasting five days, formed by relay hunger-strikers who would come for one day.
Gao did not discriminate between the many different groups of people in China, saying the hunger strikes should be an expression of support for all those victimised by the regime, including, “workers, farmers, intellectuals and people with religious beliefs.” He also included members from within the CCP's system, for instance those in the “political field, army, and public security system,” as well as “overseas citizens who have been subjected to brutal persecution, such as refugees from North Korea.”
Gao said that the environment for people to defend their rights had rapidly deteriorated in the last half year, describing examples of recent assaults on members of the legal profession who dared to support human rights. He described the judicial system as the “most brutal component [in the] evil system” of persecution and the public legal organs as “violent tools used to stop citizens appealing by law.”
“The hunger strike relay will continue circulating throughout the country until the illegal persecution ends,” he said.
The realisation of Gao's clear intentions for this to become a large scale, ongoing phenomena is a very real possibility, given the support for his widely publicised and well-supported criticism of the regime and the widespread respect he has gained for his courageous stance.
The world's media first heard about the outspoken lawyer in October 2005, when he wrote an open letter to CCP leader Hu Jintao documenting and criticising the regime's persecution of the spiritual practice of Falun Gong.
Gao began documenting the persecution of Falun Gong over two years ago, visiting victims of the persecution in different areas and investigating directly for himself under cover.
Since his open letter, he has been constantly monitored and followed closely wherever he goes. In January he survived an attempted assassination in which he narrowly escaped being run over by a car.
Despite being closely monitored and under the scrutiny of the regime, he has continued to publish commentary articles that expose the crimes of the regime and call on the Chinese people to renounce the communist party.