Chinese Attorney’s Book on Rights in China Published in Germany

September 16, 2008 Updated: October 2, 2015

Book cover: China's Hope by Gao Zhisheng. My life and struggles as an attorney in the largest communist state. (Agenda Verlag)
Book cover: China's Hope by Gao Zhisheng. My life and struggles as an attorney in the largest communist state. (Agenda Verlag)
At the ceremony introducing Gao Zhisheng’s book China’s Hope, it was almost as if the Chinese attorney were present himself. He spoke, although he is incarcerated at an undisclosed location in China.

In a video made in Beijing in 2007, Gao openly discussed his life experiences, related the demeaning treatment he had received at the hands of the Chinese State Security agents, and offered his conclusions. This video was made two months prior to his "disappearance.”

On Sept. 12, 2007, he wrote an open letter to members of the U.S. Congress, detailing the capital crimes committed by members of the communist regime, particularly the ruthless persecution of Falun Gong's belief system.

He was arrested ten days later, taken to an undisclosed location, and his whereabouts are still unknown.

Gao Zhisheng's book was introduced on July 31 at the renowned Berlin Agenda publishing house. Present were the distributor, the publisher, and the translator, as well as the Swiss historian Andreas Petersen and writer/professor Ines Geipel, who were both there to champion the just published book.

Ines Geipel, a former top athlete during the era of the East German communist dictatorship who is well acquainted with oppression in her own right, thought it a matter of the heart to dedicate Gao's book by writing an open letter to members of the U.S. Congress.

Moderator Andreas Petersen, Ines Geipel, and Bernhard Schneeberger (left to right) at the Berlin Literature House. (Renate Lilge-Stodieck/ETD)
Moderator Andreas Petersen, Ines Geipel, and Bernhard Schneeberger (left to right) at the Berlin Literature House. (Renate Lilge-Stodieck/ETD)

The book finds its way to Germany via the United States, where the German distributor Thomas Kalmud had first seen the English language version. He considers books like this one—addressing topics and experiences through the eyes of Chinese citizens—as irreplaceable.

Kalmund was determined to have the book available in Germany prior to the Olympics and publisher Schneeberger said the ensuing process was as high a caliber "kamikaze enterprise" as he had ever witnessed.

Translator Ursula Schwede had translated half the text before a contract was arrived at and merely three months passed from the inception of the idea to publish until the book was ready for distribution.

In reply to a question from an audience member the publisher spoke some of the shortest sentences during the event, " If I were you I would buy the book. It has actual content. Then you would know."

Read original article in German.