The following report from VOMC partner ChinaAid shares the latest information on Gao Zhisheng, a Christian human rights lawyer who has endured much persecution from authorities. Please consider joining ChinaAid in raising a voice for Gao and his family by signing their petition. To sign today, and for other ways you can help, please visit their website at www.freegao.com.
Since mid-December, 2009, ominous rumors have circulated about Gao Zhisheng, hinting that he has died after brutal torture in prison. However, no reports have been confirmed, and the Chinese government continues to refuse comment on his condition and whereabouts.
Gege, Gao's daughter, had been reportedly "pale and tired-looking" with worry for months. After hearing a rumor of Gao's death just before Christmas, Gege became so emotionally distraught, she was forced to be hospitalized. She remains fragile and under medical watch in a New York hospital.
This week, after searching out the policeman who originally detained Gao Zhisheng back in February, 2009, Gao's brother Zhiyi was told that Attorney Gao allegedly "went missing while out on a walk" on September 25, 2009. Gao's wife refused to comment, but was reported to be extremely upset after hearing the news.
This is the first time a Chinese government official has hinted that they no longer have Gao Zhisheng in their custody, leading ChinaAid to believe Gao's condition has taken a turn for the worse.
"It is totally unacceptable for the Chinese government to lose track of their own prisoner," said President of ChinaAid Bob Fu. "It is absolutely clear that he was forcibly taken from his home in February 2009. Nearly a year later, the Chinese government now says they do not have him."
Though the rumors of death cannot be confirmed, Bob Fu remains extremely concerned for this new development.
"We have every reason to suspect that the Chinese government has something very serious to hide. Gao's family has every right to know what happened to him. It is unbelievable that a high security prisoner would go missing while "out on a walk," without suspecting that there is a major cover up of his condition."
The Chinese government can no longer hide their actions from the world and must be held accountable for their treatment of Gao Zhisheng. Now is the time to act!