Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was forcibly disappeared last month, reportedly taken from a cave that was his home in the northern province of Shaanxi. Now it is believed Gao is being held by police in Beijing, according to members of his family.
Gao’s elder brother Gao Zhiyi told the persecuted lawyer’s U.S.-based wife Geng He on Sept. 7 that the Chinese government told him that Gao was in custody in the country’s capital, reported RFA.
Prior to this the 53-year-old lawyer had not been seen or heard of since Aug.13 when he was under house arrest in his Shaanxi cave home, a situation he has endured onwards from his 2014 release from a three year stint in prison for violating parole terms related to a 2006 conviction for “inciting subversion of state power.”
RFA reported that his family do not know why the police are currently holding him.
Gao’s wife and two children fled China on January 9, 2009.
— Sophie Richardson (@SophieHRW) September 8, 2017
Like many human rights lawyers in China, Gao had long earned the ire of the communist authorities for providing legal assistance to China’s most vulnerable. Among those that he has tried to help were house Christians, petitioners, victims of state corruption and Falun Gong practitioners.
In 2005, the authorities closed down his Beijing law firm after he wrote an open letter condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. That same year Gao publicly announced his membership withdrawal from the Party.
The first time Gao was forcible disappeared was in 2006. The next time was in 2007, following which he wrote an account called “Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia” (My account of more than 50 days of torture in 2007).
He was again disappeared for a period of time in 2009 by security officials and then he resurfaced only to be disappeared again the following year. After 20 months of his whereabouts being unknown, state-run media ran a notice stating he had been sentenced to three years for the aforementioned probation violation.
Watch this video featuring former Canadian lawmaker David Kilgour talking about on why he nominated Gao for a Nobel Peace Prize in this video posted by End Organ Pillaging.
After Gao was released in 2014 there were concerns about his health due to what he experienced in prison. While imprisoned, Gao said he was subjected to three bouts of severe torture and was held in a solitary confinement cell with no windows for three years. For weeks they also played nonstop recordings of communist slogans into his cell as a form of mental torture.
“Those who have persecuted me have used every means possible over the past nine years to break my spirit,” Gao said not long after he was released in 2014 via a video statement posted by China Aid. “They have spent nine years trying to rid my name from this earth, but what is the result?”
Despite being under constant surveillance in his Shaanxi cave, Gao also managed to write about his three years in prison. Somehow he managed to get his manuscript out of China. It was published last year in Taiwan with the title “Stand Up China 2017.” In it he predicts that the Chinese Communist Party will collapse sometime this year.
Watch this episode of China Uncensored about why being a human rights lawyer is one of the most dangerous jobs in China: