Human Rights Attorney Taken Away by Chinese Police

January 4, 2007 Updated: January 4, 2007

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng was taken away from his Beijing home a week ago by police. No one can now confirm his whereabouts, although one report suggests he may no longer be in police custody.

In an interview on Jan. 3 with RFA reporter Zhang Min, Gao's mother-in-law said of Gao, “He had only stayed [at home in Beijing] for a couple of days, then he was taken away by them, and no one knows where he went.”

According to the RFA report, the mother-in-law had lived for about three months at her daughter's home in Beijing, and returned to her own home in Urumchi on Jan. 1. According to her recollection, Gao was taken away by police on Dec. 27 or 28.

The AIDs and democracy activist Mr. Hu Jia told RFA that one of Gao's relatives in Shandong Province said that Gao had been seen since at the house of his sister in Shandong. However, according to RFA, no one has been able to confirm this report.

According to another report by the RFA, Hu Jia believes the CCP wanted Gao out of Beijing before Jan. 1 because of new press regulations put in for the Olympics. Those new regulations took effect Jan. 1 and would allow foreign journalists inside Beijing to interview Gao with his consent only (not the regime's).

Gao has been one of the most outspoken human rights activists in China. The removal of Gao from his home is the latest incident in Gao's public, two-year-long challenge to the CCP to end its human rights abuses and the CCP's subsequent attempts to silence Gao.

Beginning with a letter on Dec. 31, 2004 to the National People's Congress, Gao wrote three open letters to the top leadership of the CCP asking for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong.

In Nov. 2005 Gao's law office was shut down and Gao's law license revoked. In December 2005, Gao wrote an open letter resigning from the CCP in which he revealed that his investigations into the persecution of Falun Gong had lead him to lose hope completely in the CCP.

In Feb. 2006 Gao called for a Hunger Strike Support Group to Support Human Rights, which organized relay hunger strikes by thousands of people in China in support of human rights.

Gao maintained a steady presence in the Western media. He frequently published articles in The Epoch Times and the wire services and several major Western newspapers carried articles about him.

While Gao was still free, he and his family were subjected to 260 days of daily harassment by the police, which included three attempts on Gao's life. On Aug. 15 2006, Gao was arrested on the charge of “inciting subversion.” After Gao's arrest, his family continued to be subjected to intense harassment, which included attacks on his wife Geng He and his daughter Geng Ge.

On Dec. 22 in a closed trial at which he was not allowed to have his own chosen counsel, Gao was given a suspended sentence under the condition that the three year prison sentence would be enforced should the CCP charge him with another crime. Since being released, Gao had been incommunicado and was assumed to be under house arrest.

Whether Gao is now in prison or under house arrest at his sister's or somewhere else entirely remains a mystery for now.

Updated January 4, 2007