China Aid Association
(WASHINGTON, DC – July 16, 2009) On July 9 and 10 ChinaAid delivered more than 100,000 signatures to the Chinese Embassy, the U.S. State Department and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). The signatures represent concerned citizens in the U.S. and around the world who are asking for the immediate release of Gao Zhisheng, a Christian human rights attorney who was kidnapped by Chinese officials on February 4.
Gao Zhisheng has defended persecuted Christians and others who have been abused by the Chinese government for their beliefs. Sources inside China say Gao is undergoing severe torture. The petition is the second installment of signatures on behalf of Gao. The first installment of more than 50,000 signatures was delivered at the end of April; the latest petition included these signatures.
On July 10, the petition for Gao Zhisheng’s release, addressed to Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, was delivered in person to the U.S. State Department. On the same day, Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, presented the petition to the CECC during a roundtable regarding the recent crackdown on human rights attorneys in China. Recently, more than 18 lawyers have not been permitted to renew their licenses. Some have been arrested, beaten and tortured for their normal legal defense work. Gao, along with many of the other attorneys targeted by the government, have been working with ChinaAid’s legal defense efforts for religious freedom cases.
As a result of the petition for Gao, several Congressional leaders, including Congressman James McGovern, have agreed to send a letter to Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong inquiring about Gao Zhisheng’s current whereabouts and condition.
On July 9, Attorney David E. Taylor, a ChinaAid volunteer, delivered the petition for Gao’s release to the Chinese Embassy. He was allowed inside the embassy, but when the Chinese Embassy staff saw the petition was from ChinaAid for Gao Zhisheng they told him he must leave and refused to accept the petition. The embassy staff at the door said, “I’m sorry, Sir, I’m sorry! Take it away!” See video below.
Taylor left the petition at the front door of the embassy, and stated that: “According to the law, leaving the petition on Chinese property, the embassy, amounts to ‘legal service.’ The Chinese Embassy was legally served with the petition even though they tried to avoid it.”
Taylor said it was a profound honor to deliver the petition on behalf of the 100,000 signatories. He feels holding the Chinese government accountable is not only important for Gao, but also for all human rights lawyers in China. As an American lawyer, he feels a personal responsibility to speak out. “It is time that we, the American lawyers be heard, to lobby for that which is far more sacred than our own interests – the interests of real human rights across the world and, at this moment, particularly in China.”
ChinaAid thanks all those who have signed the petition and who have taken action on behalf of Gao Zhisheng. ChinaAid will continue the petition and calls all those concerned to sign the petition at http://www.freegao.com/ and persist in pressuring the Chinese government for his release. The petition deliveries are the latest in a series of actions on Gao’s behalf.
Contact the Chinese embassy for an explanation of their refusal to address the concern of 100,000 citizens in the U.S. and around the world on behalf of Gao Zhisheng. Urge they immediately account for his current location and condition.
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760
Note: If you are a citizen of another country, please click here to find the contact information of the Chinese embassy in your own nation, and ask for they immediately account for Gao Zhisheng’s current location and condition. http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zwjg/2490/
Read a statement by Attorney David E. Taylor (photo left) regarding the details of the petition delivery and his motivation for helping in the effort for Gao Zhisheng’s release.
Sign the petition, view a video, send e-mails and make phone calls to Chinese government officials on behalf of Gao Zhisheng at www.FreeGao.com.