Search Results for: Gao Zhisheng

Gao Zhisheng a stark reminder that China lacks rule of law

CHINA HK CDTGao Zhisheng has never broken any law, and his persecution is a stark reminder that China has no rule of law, human rights lawyer Teng Biao writes for the Washington Post:

It has been reported that the upcoming fourth plenary session of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party will focus on governing the country according to law. Gao’s was a “top case” during the reign of domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Now that President Xi Jinping has expelled Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” will Xi and the party act to follow the rule of law and correct the injustices done to Gao? RTWT

The China Digital Times notes that Badiucao honors the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong by linking it with the 1989 protest movement. In this image (above), the Tank Man is now joined by dozens of youthful, exuberant protesters who are “occupying” the tank. They are holding aloft a flag emblazoned with “抗命,” part of the term “civil disobedience” which has been used for the Hong Kong protests.

Chinese dissident Gao Zhisheng seen by family

“Family members of one of China’s most prominent dissidents visited him in a prison in the western region of Xinjiang this month,” The New York Times reports:

The group, Human Rights in China, based in New York, said in a statement late on Tuesday that Gao Zhisheng’s younger brother and his father-in-law visited him on Jan. 12, citing Mr. Gao’s wife. …Foreign human rights advocates say they fear for Mr. Gao’s life because there is no word on his well-being or whereabouts for long stretches of time. Foreign governments have condemned China for its harsh treatment of Mr. Gao over the years.

Mr. Gao [left] is a rights lawyer and a Christian who was subjected to long periods of detention and what he called torture by security forces after he took on politically delicate cases. Those cases included defending Chinese whose land had been taken from them and given to developers, as well as persecuted members of Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement. Mr. Gao was once a celebrated lawyer praised by the state and the governing Communist Party. He renounced his membership in the party in 2005 and denounced the government.

Human Rights in China is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

The case and treatment of Gao Zhisheng

Credit: Epoch Times

The condition of Gao Zhisheng, one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, remains a closely guarded secret. In December 2011, the Chinese government announced Gao would be required to serve out his earlier three-year criminal sentence, just as his sentence suspension was about to expire. Gao, a self-taught lawyer who angered Chinese authorities by exposing human rights abuses, had been missing for more than 20 months, since “reappearing” from enforced disappearance in March 2010. Chinese officials have not released any news of Gao’s health or condition, and Gao’s family members and lawyers have been unable to visit him.

A hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China today will focus on the latest announcement on Gao Zhisheng’s criminal imprisonment and will address concerns over his current well-being. Witnesses, including Gao Zhisheng’s wife, will address Gao’s legal defense of marginalized groups in China-including religious practitioners, rural workers and human rights activists-and his enforced disappearance. Other experts will address ongoing international legal and humanitarian advocacy efforts on behalf of Gao. The hearing will also feature testimony from the wife of another prominent jailed dissident, Guo Quan, who is serving a 10-year sentence and who, like Gao, has been punished for his human rights and democracy advocacy.

Representative Christopher Smith, Chairman and Senator Sherrod Brown, Cochairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China announce a hearing on “The Case and Treatment of Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC

This hearing will be webcast live.


Geng He, Wife of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Li Jing, Wife of democracy advocate Guo Quan

Jared Genser, Founder of Freedom Now and Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, LLC

Bob Fu, Founder and President of ChinaAid Association (CAA)

Click here to download a copy of the Commission’s full 2011 Annual Report.

ChinaAid is a grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

China: Obama Should Publicly Call for Dissidents Releases

china tohti2In a letter released today, nine leading human rights groups urged President Obama to take up the Chinese government’s crackdown on civil society as an obstacle to bilateral relations on his upcoming visit to China. Obama will meet with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on November 12, 2014.

The letter urges Obama to publicly call for the releases of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia; Uighur economist and advocate of interethnic dialogue Ilham Tohti (left); human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who is not free despite having been released from prison; and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist leader whose health is reportedly deteriorating after a decade in prison.

“President Obama has recently called for the release of Ilham Tohti and Liu Xiaobo, and has spoken about the importance of civil society globally – but he has yet to do so in Beijing,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “As conditions for rights defenders in China continue to deteriorate, we urge him to deliver those messages forcefully and publicly in Beijing.”

The nine organizations include Amnesty International, Freedom House, Freedom Now, Human Rights First, Human Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Tibet, Project 2049, and the Uyghur American Association.

Highlighting the plight of prisoners of conscience

At the height of the Cold War it was not uncommon for prominent political prisoners to be household names.  Robust advocacy campaigns took root in the West—perhaps best represented by the American Jewish community’s efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry.  While political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are still very much a reality today, too often their stories are not known, their cases are rarely highlighted in high-level diplomatic talks, and, ultimately, little progress is made in pursuit of their release and eventual freedom. 

The Lantos Commission’s first hearing of 2014 will address the plight of prisoners of conscience, who are currently unjustly detained by repressive governments around the world.  By highlighting several such cases, the hearing will explore strategies for securing the release of prisoners of conscience, the need to shine a bright light on some lesser known cases, the historical precedent for effective advocacy campaigns and the importance of human rights as a central factor in U.S. foreign policy. 

In December 2012 the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC), in conjunction with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), launched the Defending Freedoms Project (DFP) with the aim of supporting human rights and religious freedom throughout the world with a particular focus on prisoners of conscience. 

The hearing will feature several witnesses including Mr. Natan Sharansky, the noted human rights activist who spent nine years in the Soviet Gulag for his political activities and later authored The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror. 

Defending Freedoms Hearing

Highlighting the Plight of Prisoners of Conscience around the World


Thursday, January 16, 2014

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

HVC 210 

Witnesses who will testify:


Panel I:

  • Dr. Robert P. George, Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)


Panel II:

  • Ms. Geng He, Wife of Imprisoned Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng, Accompanied by Mr. Jared Genser, Founder, Freedom Now and Pro Bono Counsel for Gao Zhisheng
  • Mr. Josh Colangelo-Bryan, Pro Bono Attorney on behalf of Imprisoned Bahraini Human Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab
  • Mrs. Tran Thi Ngoc Minh, Mother of Imprisoned Vietnamese Labor Activist Do Thi Minh Hanh
  • Mr. Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Introduced by Ms. Katrina Lantos Swett, Vice-Chair, USCIRF and President, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice
  • Mr. Gal Beckerman, author, When They Come for Us We’ll be Gone; The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry


*Witness list subject to change


Note: The live stream will be available here