Friend Kidnapped, Leases Revoked

April 14, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: April 14, 2006 12:00 am

Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng faces further harassment as a close friend of his was kidnapped while his attempt to rent an apartment was twice thwarted by Chinese communist agents.

In a phone interview with Sound of Hope Radio (SOH), Ma Wendu, the human rights activist who has kept Gao company since Gao left home in late March fleeing Chinese communist agents' continuous harassment, said he jumped into a car-for-hire in the evening on April 9 only to discover that there were two other passengers inside. Before long, he said, the two swiftly pulled a black bag over his head, and when the bag was removed he was in a very shabby rural house.

According to Ma, his three kidnappers hardly said anything to him besides making such threats as “we will make you disappear” or “we can take you to wherever we want.”

“I discovered that they have become smarter, have learned to keep quiet, not saying anything,” Ma commented. “They probably know that speaking to us is like speaking through a megaphone to the entire world, like issuing a press release—[their words] will be faithfully repeated to [the outside world]. So they didn't say anything.”

Ma said his kidnappers let him go the following morning in a manner as if nothing had happened and they had been surprised to see Ma in the house.

Gao Zhisheng told SOH that the kidnapping was undoubtedly done by Chinese communist agents: “This is a show for me to see. It dares not make me disappear. It is warning the people staying with me … this is how you could disappear at any moment!”

“Chinese communist agents have many tricks,” Gao said, “the authorities have even changed Ma's cell phone number. It used to be 13366911548 until one day a friend told Ma that his caller ID showed that Ma's cell phone was 13366206981. Since then, Ma's cell phone number has been mysteriously changed.”

Gao, accompanied by Ma, has been on the run from home since March 26 in order to keep his harassers away from his wife and child. At one point while he was driving on a highway, a huge vehicle suddenly blocked his way while another vehicle tried to squeeze him into a direction that would hurt him. Since then, Gao has been staying with friends.

On April 10 Gao tried to rent an apartment. The first time, after the landlord received Gao's three months of deposit, he was detained and interrogated by officials of the National Security Bureau for an entire night, according to Gao. The next day the landlord returned and revoked the lease. Gao complied.

The second time, as soon as Gao moved his luggage into the apartment, Gao said, he saw a mysterious vehicle, with its license plate covered, pulling over outside the house. Two men in military uniform hurriedly signaled the landlord to go out. When the landlord returned he told Gao that the apartment was no longer available.

Again, Gao and Ma resorted to leaving Beijing.

Gao, one of the top ten lawyers named by the Chinese communist regime in 2001, initiated a relay hunger strike in February in protest of the various human rights abuses that he has seen in China. Among those abuses is the persecution of Falun Gong. Gao has written no less than three open letters to the regime on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners. His support for Falun Gong is a main factor leading to his persecution by the regime.

Chinese authorities have arrested and detained many of those who have joined Gao in the relay hunger strike.