Global Protest Raises Support for Missing Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Mary Hong
By Mary Hong
August 14, 2023China News
Global Protest Raises Support for Missing Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng
Gao Zhisheng, head of the Beijing-based Zhisheng Legal Office during an interview at his office in Beijing on Nov. 2, 2005. (Verna Yu/AFP/Getty Images)

Human rights advocates around the world came together on Aug. 13 to mark the 6th anniversary of the forced disappearance of prominent Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. In a global protest, hosted by multiple organizations in numerous cities across the United States, hundreds gathered to show their support and raise awareness about Mr. Gao’s concerning absense.

The event, “Where Is Gao Zhisheng?” decried Beijing’s forced disappearance of Mr. Gao for the past six years.

Mr. Gao was kidnapped by Chinese police from his home in Shaanxi Province, northwest China, on Aug. 13, 2017. There has not been any information about his whereabouts since then, despite ceaseless efforts by his supporters and family.

Jie Lijian, the organizer of the event, told the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) capture of Mr. Gao was symbolic of the communist regime’s evil nature that flies in the face of the rule of law and universal human rights.

“We must speak out. We hope that lawyer Gao will gain his freedom and reunite with his family soon,” Mr. Jie said.

The event is to remind the CCP that people have not forgotten Mr. Gao and his righteous influence on Chinese society, according to Mr. Jie.

Mr. Gao has been subject to persecution by the CCP since he started representing farmers in land expropriation cases and for writing open letters condemning its persecution against Falun Gong practitioners and Christians. He has been targeted the by CCP since at least in 2005 when the authorities suspended his licence to practice law, and he was sentenced to three-years imprisonment in 2011.

Mr. Jie explained that the CCP has never stopped persecuting China’s human rights lawyers. Many Chinese lawyers—such as Zhang Zhan, Zhou Shifeng, Wang Quanzhang, Wang Yu, Li Heping, Yu Wensheng, Tang Jitian—have been arrested, sentenced, and tortured. To date, many of them are still imprisoned, and others ill-treated even after their release as a method of intimidation.

At least 64 rights defending groups and organizations joined the global event, which was simultaneously hosted in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

Organizers signed a joint letter calling for Mr. Gao to be rescued from China, which was endorsed and supported by at least 64 organizations, including the June 4th Memorial Museum, China Aid Association, Tibetan Association of Southern California, Support the Uyghur Foundation, Christian Alliance for Righteousness, China Independent Writers Publishing, China Spring Democracy Movement Society, Hong Kong Forum (Los Angeles), among others.

Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng
Missing Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s wife Geng He (R2) joined by Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Scott Busby (R1), founder and president of ChinaAid, Bob Fu (L1), and President and CEO of Victims Of Communism Memorial Foundation, Andrew Brandberg (L2) on September 20 at the Victims of Communism Museum in Washington D.C. (Li Chen/Epoch Times)


A Light Among Us

Liang Shaohua, who formerly practiced law in Beijing, said the CCP’s disappearing of Mr. Gao was in violation of Chinese law.

By law, family members must be notified within 24 hours after being subject to residential surveillance, detention, or arrest. The notification should include the reason for detention, the location of the detention, and family members should be allowed to visit.

The total length of such a measure shall not exceed 6 months. But Mr. Gao has been missing for far longer, Mr. Liang said.

Mr. Liang explained that the regime’s kidnapping of Mr. Gao has not just violated Chinese law, but also the U.N. declaration on the “Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.”

Mr. Liang said, “Lawyer Gao is a light among us,” referring to China’s rights activists and lawyers.

“The CCP’s hooligan style of suppressing Gao Zhisheng is to create a chilling effect on ordinary Chinese, to prevent them from speaking out,” he added.

He believes it is the “conscience and kindness” of Mr. Gao, who has no political intentions, that challenged the CCP’s legitimacy.

Mr. Liang insists that the CCP is testing people’s endurance, which will in turn bring about the final collapse of the CCP.

He said, “There’s a limit about endurance. It is just like a pressure cooker, there is a limit. Now, it is hitting the limit.”

He hopes that Beijing will release Mr. Gao in a gesture of goodwill to the international community and reverse its actions that are wiping out humanity in China. “But I really do not have much hope for it,” he said.

Shawn Ma contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.