Gao Zhisheng

Gao Zhisheng

Gao Zhisheng in 2016

Without a trace

Warning: Portions of the following contain graphic descriptions of torture

Renowned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng forcibly disappeared in August 2017. His last whereabouts were in Jia County, Shaanxi province, where authorities held him under home confinement. Nobody has heard any reports about his well-being since then.

Award-winning lawyer

Gao Zhisheng handled a number of high-profile cases, including a dispute over government-seized oil fields in Shaanxi. He also represented Christians in the far west region of Xinjiang, and he fiercely advocated for Falun Gong practitioners. Lawyer Gao gained so much recognition that he was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Vocal for human rights

In 2005, Gao became more vocal about the nature of the CCP. The Beijing Judicial Bureau shut down his law office. He was sentenced in December of 2006 to three years for “inciting subversion of state power.” The Chinese government gave him five years of probation and deprived his political rights for one year. For reasons unknown, they released Gao soon after.

Never free again

On September 21, 2007, Gao was taken into official custody again. After he was released 50 days later, he wrote “Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia.” In his essay, he recounted how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tortured him, including inserting toothpicks into his penis. Geng He, Gao Zhisheng’s wife, testified before US Congress about this imprisonment: “From that day on, Gao Zhisheng was never free again until August 2017, when he was illegally kidnapped by the Chinese Communist Party.”


In 2011, Gao told an AP reporter about how police stripped him naked and beat him with handguns. During a second three-year sentence, guards beat him with electric batons. 

His family’s escape

Gao’s wife, daughter, and son fled from Beijing to the United States in 2009. Authorities took Gao less than a month later. He suddenly re-appeared on March 27th, 2010, under the surveillance of Domestic Security Protection agents. He disappeared again on April 20th.


Due to his international prominence, Gao Zhisheng has been relentlessly targeted by the CCP. The authorities used “forced disappearance” to limit information. Instead of reporting his detention to his family, officials would detain Gao secretly. They effectively kidnapped and tortured him.  

Photo: Gao Zhisheng (ChinaAid)
Geng He and Sophie Luo
Photo: Geng He (left) giving her testimony before US Congress (ChinaAid)
Photo: Rep. Chris Smith, Vicky Hartzler, and Ambassador Sam Brownback present Lin Zhao Freedom Award to Geng He (ChinaAid)


Catch up on the latest reports concerning Gao Zhisheng and the advocacy from his wife and family

Rule of Law
After six years of silence, organizations call for the release of Gao Zhisheng

(China) International organizations are calling for the release of Gao Zhisheng, a world-renowned human rights lawyer. Gao defended house church Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, and …

Where is Gao Zhisheng? Congress holds hearing for prisoners of conscience
“An extravagant wish”: Wife of Gao Zhisheng reflects on his five years of forced disappearance
Upcoming prayer service for Gao Zhisheng
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