Gao Zhisheng Missing for Three Days, Beijing Admits Arrest
As of 12 p.m., August 18, renowned Chinese civil rights attorney Gao Zhisheng has been under arrest for three days. China's state-run media Xinhua News Agency announced that the Beijing Public Bureau arrested Gao Zhisheng because he is “suspected of being involved in illegal activities.” This is the first time Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials have admitted to the arrest of attorney Gao since he was taken away secretly from his sister's home in Shandong Province.
Analysts in China think that the publicity of the publication of The Selected Works of Jiang Zemin and the arrest of Gao Zhisheng mark a new stage in how high level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials treat Falun Gong and Gao Zhisheng. Gao Zhisheng's safety is determined by the next stage of battle between the CCP and Gao's supporters inside and outside of China.
Currently, the outside world cannot reach Gao Zhisheng's wife, child, and his three nephews in Beijing. People with inside information revealed that attorney Gao's nephew has been detained in the Xiaoguan Police Station in Beijing since August 15, the telephone lines of Gao's elder brother in his hometown Sha'anxi Province and his elder sister in Shandong Province were cut off again, and that in the evening of August 16, Gao's nephew called his girlfriend from the police station telling her that he is being detained.
The reporter called the Xiaoguan Police Station on August 18th to ask whether Gao Zhisheng's three nephews were being detained. The police replied that they didn't know and suggested the reporter ask higher level officials.
Some people in Beijing already went to visit Gao's wife Geng He and his child. They found plain-clothed policemen gathered around Gao's home, and there were over a dozen of them in the stairways of the building. No one answered the door at attorney Gao's home.
Analysis: Jiang Zemin's Gang Becomes More Powerful
An anonymous analyst in China said that the arrest of attorney Gao is a test that could lead to different results. There are two key determining factors: the unity of the supporters inside China and the support from overseas. The CCP would release attorney Gao in a week if it is smart; it might also choose to battle with Gao's supporters over this issue for a while.
The observer indicated that there are two background factors that led to attorney Gao's arrest.
The first one is the attitude toward Falun Gong among high level CCP officials. If attorney Gao is not released in a week, it signals that high level CCP officials have reached an agreement over the issue of Falun Gong and Gao Zhisheng.
The recently published book, The Selected Work of Jiang Zemin, includes content about Jiang persecuting Falun Gong. It is currently being promoted with a lot of publicity in mainland China. All CCP members are called on to study it, which means the CCP has publicly agreed with Jiang's persecution of Falun Gong. This action shows that Jiang's gang is gaining more power.
The analyst said that if Hu Jintao chooses to be silent on the persecution of Falun Gong, he would be held responsible for the existing policies by his political opponents. As long as Hu Jintao does not publicly negate Jiang, he cannot negate the existing persecution against Falun Gong. Attorney Gao's recent arrest is an extension to such policies.
The second factor is related to the “Four Characteristics” and Chen Guangcheng's case. In July 2006, after attending the court hearing on Chen's case, Gao Zhisheng proposed “Four Characteristics” in the human rights defending activities including the right to gather, to demonstrate, to be involved in the political process, and for non-violence. The CCP is very fearful of the “Four Characteristics.”
Some analysts believe that the arrest of lawyer Gao could be a prelude to a nationwide crackdown by the CCP on human rights activities in China.
However, the observer mentioned above believes the possibility of sentencing Gao to prison at this time is not very high. A crackdown on Gao and other human rights activist attorneys is not in the best interests of the CCP. The CCP is working to improve its' public image prior to the 17th Conference of the National People's Congress and the scheduled 2008 Olympic Games. The worst result today may be to free attorney Gao after only a couple of weeks of detention. The arrest of Gao is simply a test, probing the depth and breadth of the response from the public. Measurement of public response will be used in preparing for the next step in making policy decisions.
U.S. Officials Intercede On Behalf Of Attorney Gao, EU Watches Closely
When the news of Gao's arrest was published on the Internet, it was reported that the U.S. embassy in China had appointed officials to intercede with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this case. Germany, Britain, and other EU members are also watching the case closely. Overseas individuals as well as associations have started to issue statements in efforts to rescue attorney Gao.
When attorney Gao was recently threatened by plain-clothed police, he told reporters, “The day I am arrested is the day I will start my hunger strike. The CCP will not get one word out of my mouth. Before they hear my voice, they must release all Chinese citizens that are being illegally detained.”
The reporter has obtained information from reliable sources inside China: CCP is to inject a drug into Gao. The drug will leave Attorney Gao unable to speak or move.
In 2004, pro-democracy activist He Weihua was forcefully injected with drugs while in the custody of the CCP. The drugs left him unable to think or speak. He said, “In general, the victim starts to show symptoms two days after taking the drugs. It is taken either orally or by injection. The injected drug is most severe, some could maintain its effect inside the body for an entire year.”
The latest rumor says that the “CCP is preparing to inject a drug into attorney Gao.” This rumor has not yet been confirmed. However, with the fact that many Falun Gong practitioners, dissidents, and human rights activists have been injected with mind-altering drugs while in detention, and the fact that the CCP has not informed attorney Gao's family where he is being held, there is a high possibility that this rumor is true.