Popular Human Rights Attorney in China Beaten and Detained

July 30, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: July 30, 2006 12:00 am

At 10 p.m. on July 30, Gao Zhisheng, the well-known human rights attorney in China, was beaten in front of his residence by three plainclothes agents who had been monitoring him. The beating happened when Gao went to talk with them about the engine noise of their surveillance vehicles that was disturbing residents' sleep at night. The agents beat him badly, and his elbows were bleeding. Gao was taken by police to the Xiaoguan Police Station.

At 9 p.m. that day, Gao and his family were about to go to sleep. The plainclothes agents who have been monitoring Gao outside his residence, however, turned on their surveillance vehicles to keep the air conditioning going. The loud noise of the engines made it impossible to sleep. Gao went out to negotiate with the plainclothes agents. They argued and the agents promised to turn off the vehicles at 10 p.m. But after 10 p.m. the engine noise continued, so Gao had to call the police.

According to Gao's wife Geng He, it took Gao over 30 minutes to connect to the police. Gao went downstairs when he thought the police were about to come. Geng He, against Gao's advice, went out a moment after him, and saw three or four plainclothes agents beating Gao to the ground. Gao's elbows were bleeding from the beating. One man sat on Gao and another took a brick, about to hit Gao's head with it. Geng He threw herself between this agent and her husband. She said, “That kind of brick can kill you if you are hit with it on the head!” At this moment, the police car came (answering Gao's call). The police took away both Gao and the plainclothes agents. Geng He said she escaped the arrest by freeing herself from an agent who tried to pull her into the police car.

Gao Zhisheng on hunger strike at home in Northern Shaanxi on April 1, 2006. (Ma Wendu)
Gao Zhisheng on hunger strike at home in Northern Shaanxi on April 1, 2006. (Ma Wendu)

Geng He said that in the past eight months, the surveillance vehicles have been monitoring Gao outside their residence 24 hours a day. The engines were kept on all the time to keep the inside of the vehicles warm during the winter and cool during the summer. Residents in their apartment building found it hard to rest at night. They dared not to confront the plainclothes agents, but privately complained many times to Gao and Geng He. When Gao was not at home, these vehicles would leave. Gao had said prior to the beating incident that if this nightly disturbance continues, he would have to leave home again.

An Epoch Times reporter called the Xiaoguan Police Station to ask about Gao's situation, but was told, “We do not know your identity, so we cannot tell you.” At the time of this report, Attorney Gao is still detained at the Xiaoguan Police Station.