|Gao’s daughter and wife ask for help: “Free Gao Zhisheng and let him come home.”
(Photo: Creative Commons)
(China Aid Association—September 29, 2020) International organizations submitted to the UN Security Council on the arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance of human rights advocates and lawyers in the People’s Republic of China.
- The Communist Party of China (CCP) has repeatedly arrested and imprisoned many human rights advocates, including lawyers, religious figures, scholars, and journalists, and accused them of crimes such as “inciting subversion of the state power.” In July 2015, the Chinese authorities embarked on a large-scale crackdown campaign, known as the “709 crackdown incident.” Authorities arrested more than 200 people, involving civil rights defenders, human rights workers, and lawyers, many still imprisoned or in a state of forced disappearance.
- These actions violate the basic rights of the Chinese citizens and the constitutional provisions the CCP formulated. Article 37 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates: “Illegal detention and other illegal deprivation or restriction of citizens’ personal freedom are prohibited, and illegal search of citizens’ bodies is prohibited.”
- Also, Article 41 states that “citizens of the People’s Republic of China have the right to criticize and make suggestions against any state organ or state functionary; they have the right to lodge a complaint, accusation or report to the relevant state organ for the illegal and dereliction of duty of any state organ or state functionary, but they shall not fabricate or distort the facts for false accusation and frame-up.”
- Despite these “constitutional protections” intended to protect other citizens from human rights violations and persecution from state and non-state actors, CCP authorities, who see Chinese lawyers, and citizens as separatists, radicals, and enemies, unjustly punish them.
- Gao Zhisheng, one of the most famous human rights lawyers in China, and a political activist criticizing the CCP, courageously defends the rights and interests of religious minorities and victims of state persecution. He emphasizes that authorities torture Falun Gong students.
- Most people dare not do so because they fear retaliation and punishment from CCP authorities. Because of my father’s fearless actions, just like the citizens he defended and represented, he became a victim of the CCP’s unfair violation of human rights and judicial freedom.
- In 2005, Gao announced his withdrawal from the Communist Party and sent an open letter to CCP officials calling for an end to the persecution and torture of Falun Gong students. Shortly after that, government officials revoked his right to practice law and placed him under house arrest.
- Chinese Communist Party officials imprisoned and tortured Gao Zhisheng until his release from prison in August 2014. Following this release, he remained under house arrest for three years until he escaped on August 13, 2017. The “latest” news about Gao reports that after three weeks, police detained him without formal charges.
- Since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly refused to provide any information to Gao’s family regarding his exact whereabouts, status quo, or reasons for his detention.
- Gao’s experiences of enforced disappearance and being tortured for his work as a lawyer and practice of freedom of speech raise concerns about his high risk of again being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.
“Is it not known whether or not my father is still alive?” She supports other victims and urges Chinese authorities to “release the rights activists who have been forced to disappear.
“I will never forget my father, one of the rights activists who has been forced to disappear,” she said.
Netizen Fengyue Tongtian stressed, “Don’t forget Lawyer Gao. As a lawyer of conscience, he and his family have paid too much for the sufferings of China. The world owes him much.”
Geng He, Gao’s wife, expressed her gratitude to Dr. Fu Xiqiu, President of the China Aid Association. “Thank you, Pastor Fu, for persistently looking for my husband.” She appeals to Chinese authorities and others: “Free Gao Zhisheng and let him come home.”
China Aid’s follow-up agenda included a request for the United Nations to send an independent investigator to China to search for Gao Zhisheng. Millennium Danatama Group, a partner of the China Aid Association, notably supported this activity.
For video links, please click:
耿格演讲：#HRC45 Human Rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s daughter addresses the Human Rights Council
ID: WG on Involuntary Disappearances (Cont’d) – 13th Meeting, 45th Regular Session Human Rights Council
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