Embattled Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Thanks his Supporters

November 9, 2005 Updated: November 9, 2005

Today (November 8) is the fourth day since the barbaric persecution by individuals from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice against my firm and myself became public. I had just returned from defending renowned journalist Zheng Yichun, who had been sentenced and illegally detained for his speech, when I received a phone call from the Bureau of Justice wanting to speak with me. I had originally planned to compose another open letter today to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao regarding the barbarous tactics utilized by individuals at the Bureau of Justice against me. Seeing that officials had used their authority to suspend my license and I had little time remaining as a lawyer, I temporarily gave up the notion of writing another letter and decided to take care of matters that could only be done with a lawyer's status. I sat down to commit to paper the deep and humble gratitude of my family and myself for the range and scope of the support we received from civilized societies all over the globe. The numerous supporting phone calls, text messages and letters we received throughout mainland China, excluding Qinghai Province and Tibet, continuously filled our hearts with gratitude and warmth. I then had to hurriedly leave for the Chenjiashan Coal mine in Tongchuan City, in northwest China's Shaanxi Province to extend my hand to relatives of victims. My assistant also urgently departed for Guangzhou Province to help Mr. Guo Feixiong, who is still held illegally in custody.

Just on November 6 alone, my family and I have received over twenty phone calls from leaders of House Churches in China to express their loving concern and support. All the church leaders and the countless Christians, when called, shared the same expressions — their voices were choked with sobs and they also protested against the Bureau of Justice's persecution of reactionary forces. They told me that there would be approximately 100 million Christians throughout China praying for me.

Ms. Wu from Guangxi Province said with extraordinary serenity, “Mr. Gao, their unfair treatment of you means they are crushing our last hope that rests on you, because we have no rights or power. We are a group of senior teachers who have appealed to the government for years. We will support you with all our might.”

A man from Hubei Province's Yichang City told me, “I am a government official. My friends and I have been following your articles and applauding your actions. We support you wholeheartedly in any form possible.”

A female teacher from a Beijing police institute sobbed from the other end of the line and said, “Mr. Gao, everyone in my office has been reading your articles. We were all flabbergasted when we heard of your situation! Your safety is now the sole concern of so many people. Why is the government doing this? Although we are the nation's police, we will definitely stand up to support you in your time of need. We are also willing to resolve any financial problems you may encounter.” This policewoman even requested that I take down her phone number. While writing this article, I have also received phone calls of support and encouragement from Shandong, Sichuan and Liaoning provinces.

For the past two days, countless attorneys from around the country have been calling to show their support. During my most recent trip to Shenyang City in Liaoning Province, at every stop I made, there were numerous attorneys who wanted to meet with me. The highway from Shenyang to Yingkou City passes through Liaoyang City. The attorneys at Liaoyang waited on the sides of the highway just to see me despite the risks involved because police cars were following me. An attorney in Heilongjiang Province traveled 24 hours just to “meet with me for 10 minutes.” Upon hearing news of my presence, a group of lawyers from Tianjing City drove several cars just to “get a firsthand glimpse.”

Support from overseas societies has been beyond imagination. Almost everyday, my wife and I would receive tens of support phone calls from around the world. More than 200 Chinese organizations in the United States petitioned the governments and leaders of democratic societies around the world to pay attention to all that is happening in China. Many residents in Hong Kong have expressed their plans to expose the Chinese government's brutality to the United Nation's Human Rights Committee. The attention paid by the international media has been even more unprecedented. Almost all major media outlets in the world have covered my story to show their support. In today's China, I, Gao Zhisheng, am only doing what a lawyer and a citizen should do and in return, the world has given us so much love that my family and I will never forget.

November 7 was the tenth day since we handed in our application to the Chongwen District Judicial Bureau in Beijing to request a change in partnership to my law firm. It was also the tenth time that our employees have attempted to negotiate. However, Xiao, the chief of the Attorney Affairs Department, was behaving like a hooligan and said,” We will not approve this no matter what! Delivering the materials does not mean anything. These are orders from the Beijing Judicial Bureau. Anything related to Gao Zhisheng will not get processed. We'll see what you can do about that!” Today is the eleventh day and they are still acting like hooligans and have not approved our application. This morning, our employees noticed that there was a group of people from the Judicial Bureau standing guard in front of my office and shouting, “We want to talk to Gao Zhisheng.” They kept guarding the front door to my office and would not leave.

I have so much that I want to share with my friends but due to time constraints, I will end this letter with a part of a phone conversation that I just had with a gentleman in Yunnan Province. The gentleman said, “Attorney Gao, I am (name withheld) from Yunnan Province. I have been reading your articles and many people around me are praising you. You must stay strong. Your safety is the reason that many of us civilians are staying alive. We are all wishing for your safety. Would it be alright with you if my two-year-old daughter, who has just learned to speak, said to you, “We wish for your safety?” When I actually heard Little Guoguo's words through the receiver, “We wish for your safety”, warm tears rolled down my face.

November 9, 2005, Beijing

Gao Zhisheng is an outstanding civil rights lawyer in China. Gao has been providing the grassroots support organizations with legal aid and defending victims of literary inquisition [1] and Falun Gong practitioners. His willingness to help those who cannot afford legal expenses and to give them the courage to challenge privileged officials, has won him a reputation as one of the top ten human rights lawyers in China. On October 18, Gao published his open letter to President Hu Jintao and Primer Wen Jiabao urging them to stop persecuting believers in freedom and to mend their ties with the Chinese people. On November 4 Gao Zhisheng's law firm was suspended for a year by the Beijing Judicial Bureau.

Note: [1] Manchu emperors, like Emperor Qianlong , resorted to “literary inquisition” ( Wen Zi Yu , “imprisonment due to writings”) for controlling the minds and thoughts of Chinese intellectuals. Wen Zi Yu was the law forbidding people from writing anything which could be construed as “political.” The law was used to justify the execution of many whose writings were not political in any way.

For more information, please see Stop Persecuting Believers of Freedom and Mend Your Ties with the Chinese People , Chinese Attorney Openly Appeals for Falun Gong , and China Silences Human Rights Lawyer