CALIFORNIA—The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) recently granted its Courageous Advocacy Award to Mr. Gao Zhisheng, a famous human rights lawyer in Beijing, and invited him to receive the award on June 30 in the U.S. Currently, The Global Coalition in Support of Attorney Gao Zhisheng has launched an internet petition to appeal for support from the U.S. government to facilitate Gao's trip.
Gao expressed his willingness to visit the U.S. and said he would try his best to make the award ceremony, although the regime has set up all kinds of barriers to stop his U.S. trip, including not issuing him a passport. Early this year, the regime had also put a renowned Chinese AIDS activist Gao Yaojie on house arrest to bar her from receiving an award personally in U.S.
Ms. Zhang Xuerong, spokeswoman for the Coalition, said that many groups and individuals are paying close attention to Gao's situation and are very supportive of Gao. When they knew that ABOTA had granted the award to Gao, they all wanted to make it possible for Gao to receive the award personally. “We have initiated an internet petition urging people with a sense of justice to come forward and express their support for Gao. At the same time, we have also appealed to the US government for their help.” said Zhang.
In Ms Zhang's opinion, Gao Zhisheng deserves the courageous advocacy award. She pointed out that Gao Zhisheng has won tremendous support from people because he is righteous and is not afraid of facing the Chinese communist regime. He continues to use peaceful means to fight for human rights and justice. Even when his life was threatened by the communist regime, he never compromised.
Gao Zhisheng has written three open letters to the communist regime leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao to protest against the regime's persecution of Falun Gong and called for an immediate end to the barbaric genocide which is destroying the conscience and morality of the Chinese nationality.
Consequently, Gao and his family continue to be harassed by the regime, their lives are threatened and Gao was illegally detained for eight months last year. During his detention, Gao was beaten up and tortured. After his release, Gao was placed under house arrest again and everyday he and his family are watched by more than 100 plain clothes police and spies.
ABOTA was founded in 1958, and enjoys a high reputation in the legal professions of the United States. So far, it has 6,300 members. In 1999 ABOTA set up a “Courageous Advocacy Award” to honor those judges and lawyers who still uphold their convictions to the principle of “rule by law”, despite threats to personal freedom and safety.
A few days ago, the Coalition issued an open letter demanding that the communist regime grant passports to Gao and his family allowing them to travel overseas. The coalition has also sent letters to the US parliament urging the government to pay attention to the plight of Gao and to assist him in visiting the US.
Spokesperson for the Coalition, Wu Fan said that it is an honor for China's legitimate legal circle that Gao Zhisheng was given the award. He said, “If the regime denies Gao's trip to the U.S. to receive the award, this would clearly reveal the regime's pledge to build a harmonious society is simply a lie after all”
Since the coalition was formed in February 2005 to rescue Gao Zhisheng, currently 146 organizations have joined in the coalition.