Abuse Leaves Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Barely Able to Speak, Wife Says

18 August, 2014 at 11:20 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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Abuse Leaves Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Barely Able to Speak, Wife Says: photo 2

By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

Once dubbed the “conscience of China,” Gao Zhisheng spoke out powerfully for the persecuted and dispossessed. Now, after five years of abuse, the voice that challenged injustice is, for the moment at least, almost silenced.

Since Gao, a celebrated Chinese human rights lawyer, was released from custody last week, news about his condition has trickled out through his wife, Geng He, who lives in California with their two children.

Geng He has only been able to have a few brief conversations with her husband, but she has spoken extensively to her sister, who is with Gao in Urumqi. Chinese security officials live in their home and monitor them, while others are stationed outside.

Geng He described her conversations with Gao both on Twitter and in discussions with a family friend, Sherry Zhang, who visits and spends time with the family in the Bay Area, where they live. Geng He has declined interviews with the media, but publishes updates about Gao’s condition on Twitter.

A note from Aug. 12 is chilling in its depiction of Gao’s degraded faculties: “When I was speaking with Gao the phone cut off, so I called him back and asked: ‘What were we talking about?’ Gao said: ‘I don’t know.’ I asked: ‘How did the call get cut off?’ Gao said: ‘I don’t know.’ I said: ‘Look, do you understand what I’m saying or not? Can you not hear, or do you not understand?’”

At that point the phone passed to Geng He’s sister, who said: “He’s been locked in a dark cell by himself for five years, fed a steamed bun and a bowl of cabbage every day. You have to patiently help him learn to speak again,” according to Geng He’s account on Twitter.

Tianyu, Gao Zhisheng’s young son, was disappointed and confused after attempting to speak with his father on the telephone. He had been practicing Chinese in order to speak with his dad, but after getting off the phone simply said: “Dad can’t speak Chinese!” according to Sherry Zhang, who visited the family.

“He can barely talk—and only in very short sentences—most of the time he is unintelligible,” Zhang said in an email viewed by the Epoch Times. “Gao’s son was incredibly excited to speak to him on the phone, and was completely shocked that he barely understood his father, that his voice was monotone, and that he was only giving 2 or 3 word answers to questions and wasn’t initiating any of the discussion,” the email continued.

“Gao has been utterly destroyed,” said a recent statement from Freedom Now, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., which has followed Gao’s case for several years. “Guards were strictly instructed not to speak with him. He was not allowed any reading materials, television, or access to anyone or anything. … He has lost many teeth from malnutrition. It is believed he was also repeatedly physically tortured.”

Jared Genser, president of Freedom Now and a pro bono attorney for the Gao family, said in a telephone interview, “We hope the U.S. impresses on China the need to allow him to leave for medical treatment in the U.S. Without that help and support, Gao’s future physical and mental health is very much in question.”

Genser continued: “The only thing worse than Gao being killed was for him to be horrifically mentally and physically tortured. He’s a shell of his former self, and it’s devastating for Geng He and her family. She just wants to take care of him, and that’s what we’re hoping will happen. But the Chinese government doesn’t make anything easy there.”

Additional reporting by Ma Youzhi

via Abuse Leaves Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Barely Able to Speak, Wife Says

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Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Freed From Prison, but Not Yet Free

9 August, 2014 at 09:07 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times

After close to five and a half years in detention, some of it in mountain torture chambers, anonymous apartment buildings cut off from his family, and most recently in a remote prison, one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, Gao Zhisheng, has been released.

The news trickled out on Twitter soon after his brother, Gao Zhiyi, collected him from the Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Province on Aug. 7. Both the men appear to be accompanied by security agents who continue to surveil and limit their movements.

When a reporter with Voice of America attempted to speak to Gao Zhisheng on the phone, he only had the chance to say a few words before his sister said “someone’s coming,” and quickly took the telephone away from him.

After years of mistreatment in prison, Gao Zhisheng’s lower teeth are loose and his upper teeth hurt to eat food, his family said. Gao Zhiyi will first accompany his brother to a dentist to repair the teeth.

Gao’s wife and two children live in California and have not seen their husband and father since they hastily fled China in January 2009.

“I spoke to my husband for the first time in four years. While the conversation was brief, I could tell that he wasn’t the same. I am deeply concerned that he has been seriously tortured in custody,” said Geng He, his wife, according to Freedom Now, a human rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. She held a press conference for local media in the Bay Area, California, in the morning and took interviews throughout the afternoon.

Veneer of Due Process

Gao is being released after completing a three-year prison term that was widely seen to be imposed arbitrarily.

The sentence was the authorities’ first attempt to add a veneer of due process to its punishment of Gao, which they had carried out in secret and with extreme brutality since 2006, following advocacy on what the Chinese regime has regarded as the most sensitive issue.

In 2004, Gao began representing Falun Gong practitioners, and then in 2004 and 2005 he published three open letters to the Communist Party’s leadership demanding an end to the persecution of Falun Gong. In late 2005 Gao published an open letter withdrawing from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The prison sentence was widely seen as no more than a continuation of the same, long-running violent farce. It earned this reputation because it was couched as a punishment for the crime he had originally been charged with in 2006, “inciting subversion of state power.”

He was originally given a three-year prison sentence that was suspended for two years, meaning he did not actually go to prison in 2006. Even though he was not held in prison, from 2006 onwards he was primarily in the captivity of the authorities. When the time for the suspension of the sentence was set to expire in 2011, security authorities hastily threw him in jail, claiming Gao had violated the terms of his parole.

In his periods in and out of detention in China, accounts by Gao describe in detail terrible torture and physical and psychological abuse. One noted letter, written in 2007, titled “Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia,” says that he was tortured for 50 days, including with an electric batons, cigarettes held to his eyes, and toothpicks inserted into his genitals.

‘Not yet free’

The news of Gao’s release has met with both wariness and relief by observers. His family lives abroad, but observers think it is unlikely that Gao will be allowed free passage to the United States in order to reunite with them.

“While Gao has been released from prison, it is abundantly clear he is not yet free,” said Jared Genser, Gao’s pro bono legal counsel with the group Freedom Now. “Until he is reunited with his wife and children, our work will continue. I call on the Chinese government to remove the security cordon around Gao, to let him speak freely and meet with anyone he chooses, to allow him to travel freely, both in China and abroad.”

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a longtime supporter of Gao Zhisheng, who took on his cause as part of a human rights project, said he was “relieved to hear that Gao has been granted his freedom from torture and seclusion, though I fear that he may not be truly free outside prison.” Rep. Wolf added, in the statement: “I hope that, if he chooses to apply, he will be granted asylum in the United States.”

After years of running a successful legal practice in Beijing, defending minority groups, abused workers, and house Christians, Gao’s law firm was suspended in November 2005, after he began taking on the cases of persecuted Falun Gong practitioners and writing two open letters urging an end to that persecution.

After Gao’s law firm was closed, he penned an open letter to the head of the CCP and China’s premier in which he described in detail the torture suffered by Falun Gong practitioners. Then, a few days later, he released his letter withdrawing from the CCP.

“Over a dozen days’ close touch with Falun Gong believers was a shocking experience to my soul,” he wrote in the letter, based on his time living with and interviewing Falun Gong practitioners in China about their persecution.

“I had lost my hope for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) completely. This CCP has employed the most barbarous and most immoral and illegal means to torture our mothers, our wives, our children, and our brothers and sisters. It has made this kind of torture part of the Party member’s job and raised the political standing of torture,” he wrote in the letter.

Gao continued: “From now on, Gao Zhisheng, a Party ‘member’ who hasn’t paid the membership fee for a long time and has been absent from the “Party activities” for many years, declares that he quits the cruel, untrustworthy, inhumane, and evil party.”

“This is the proudest day of my life.”

via Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Freed From Prison, but Not Yet Free

China’s Bar Association Tells Lawyers to Shut Up

29 June, 2014 at 19:11 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Lu Chen
Epoch Times

“Improper speech” by lawyers on the Internet is no longer allowed, according to the All China Lawyers Association, the state-controlled equivalent of the country’s bar association.

A draft version of new rules and penalties prepared by ACLA was leaked to social media platforms by disgruntled lawyers on June 12.

They found the prohibitions galling, including a ban on the publication of open letters “to provoke protests or incite public opinion,” or the making of “extreme or improper comments to attack or deframe China’s judicial system, political system, and the Party’s principles and policies” on the Internet.

The muzzling will probably have the most impact on lawyers that take on sensitive political cases associated with the persecution of religious followers, Falun Gong practitioners, and advocates of democracy and the rule of law in China.

If the revised draft is passed, violators will face public censure and potential expulsion from the Association—the equivalent to no longer being allowed to practice law in China.

The All China Lawyers Association is in charge of all licensed lawyers and law firms in China, and acts under the authority of the Ministry of Justice. The People’s Republic of China’s laws on the legal profession says that attorneys and legal firms in China are required to join the ACLA.

While not publishing their views on the Internet, lawyers may also be prevented by their firms from “founding, participating in, or supporting any organizations or activities that damage the image of the ACLA or do not align with the duty of lawyers.”

Law firms are no longer to “indulge” their employees by allowing them to engage in these unspecified subversive behaviors, the notice says.

The move by the ACLA, which is controlled by the government, is the latest move by the Chinese regime to punish advocates of a freer political system in China.

Several well-known rights lawyers have been arrested for “causing trouble” before the 25th anniversary of the June 4 massacre, including Pu Zhiqiang and Tang Jingling.

Predictably, attorneys in China have expressed their outrage at the proposed new rules.

“I was frightened after reading that draft,” said Zhou Ze, a well-known lawyer who also advocates for democracy and human rights in China. “The new rules are obviously for cracking down on dissident lawyers,” he said on Weibo.

He remarked that part of the reason for the proposed rules may be to prevent lawyers from speaking out against the Ministry of Justice, whose own questionable, and sometimes allegedly illegal operations many lawyers in China suffer under.

“If the draft is adopted, there may not be any more dissident lawyers,” Zhou wrote. “The judiciary will be more domineering and less just, and corruption in the judiciary will be more severe!”

Others formed a petition on Tuesday to protest against the proposed rules, and called for the ACLA president, Wang Junfeng, to step down. Over 50 lawyers signed the petition the day it was launched, according to Zhang Lei, a lawyer in Beijing.

“The All-China Lawyers Association is not protecting the rights of lawyers any more, but has become an accomplice in repressing lawyers’ rights,” the petition says. It added that the rules violate China’s own constitution.

“The Lawyers Association shouldn’t listen to the ruling Party’s orders to restrict us, said Xie Yang, an attorney in Hunan Province, in an interview with Sound of Hope Radio. “It’s doing everything to show its loyalty to the authorities. We just can’t accept that.”

via China’s Bar Association Tells Lawyers to Shut Up – The Epoch Times

Gao Zhisheng Allowed Family Visit in Remote Prison

23 January, 2013 at 10:41 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps, Society | Leave a comment
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By Irene Luo
Epoch Times Staff

It’s been over a year since human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was detained in the remote Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Province, and only recently was he allowed to meet his family for the second time. They had not been permitted to visit since March 2012.

Gao, sometimes calling “China’s conscience,” was arrested, harassed and tortured from 2005 onwards after defending persecuted practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual discipline, and other groups targeted by the regime.

Gao’s eldest brother told Sound of Hope (SOH) radio on Jan. 18 that he had been trying to visit his detained brother for a long time, and only after he threatened to appeal in Beijing did the authorities allow his family to visit Gao in prison.

Gao’s wife, Geng He, who currently resides in the United States with their children, maintained that Chinese communist authorities are afraid her family would expose her husband’s situation to the international community if they visited him.

His younger brother and father-in-law traveled far to see him, but were only granted a half-hour visit under strict monitoring and control.

During the short meeting, Gao could only ask about the family’s wellbeing. His only words for his wife were to raise the children well and don’t worry too much about him.

Geng told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that prior to their visit, the prison has forbidden them to ask any questions about Gao’s treatment; violating this rule would lead to immediate termination of the visit, she said.

During the meeting, Gao’s brother asked whether he could read newspapers or watch television but was abruptly interrupted before Gao was able to speak; a guard said that Gao wasn’t allowed.

Geng told RFA that the family made great efforts to get a chance to see him. The journey across the remote region of Xinjiang to the prison is harsh and takes around 10 days. The most important aspect of the encounter was to verify that Gao is still alive.

Sound of Hope Radio interviewed several well-known Chinese human rights activists after the short prison meeting.

Beijing human rights activist Hu Jia said that over the past eight years, Gao Zhisheng has constantly suffered brutal torture by the Chinese Communist authorities.

Hu said Gao is locked up in a place referred to by the Uyghur locals as a “terrorist prison.”

“The evil of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is fully implemented by the propaganda system and the politics and law system. Regardless of whether they are the Internet and media censors, or the political and local police that block petitioners, evil is being implemented through these various individuals. So when we are faced with these evil people, we must understand, fundamentally, it is the evil of the system, the evil of the CCP,” Hu said.

According to human rights lawyer Tang Jingling from Guangzhou, who is familiar with the CCP’s persecution of the prisoners of conscience, Gao has very likely been suffering from “strict control” and torture.

Tang added that “strict control” as implemented by guards is “very cruel”: the victim is forbidden to speak to anyone, or is often in solitary confinement in a small cell, or sometimes in a cage or small space, where they cannot stand up, or sit or lie down. Over time it is agonizing, Tang said.

Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Gao Zhisheng Allowed Family Visit in Remote Prison | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

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Gao Zhisheng’s Family Receives Unusual Letter Asking Them Not to Visit

19 December, 2012 at 10:24 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Gu Qing’er
Epoch Times Staff

A letter purporting to be from Gao Zhisheng, the well-known Chinese human rights lawyer detained for defending persecuted groups in China, was sent to family members recently, saying that they should not visit him in the remote province of Xinjiang. But the note has raised suspicions, with relatives convinced that Gao didn’t actually write it.

Gao’s family told The Epoch Times that the letter—received on the eve of the 18th National Party Congress in November—was inscribed with two red wax thumbprints. It merely said “hello to each family member,” but maintained they should not visit, making them more worried for his safety. His brothers said they would visit him by the end of the year.

“After receiving this letter, it made us more nervous and doubtful,” Gao’s wife, Geng He, told The Epoch Times. “His elder brother felt uneasy since he had never seen the thumbprints before and said they were very unusual.”

“In the past, we have always contacted each other by telephone and rarely by letter.” His brother has never seen Gao Zhisheng’s handwriting, so he can’t tell whether the letter really is from him, she added.

Gao has been detained several times by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but last disappeared in early 2009. One of his brothers said he received a document early this year, saying that Gao was detained in Xinjiang.

Gao renounced the CCP in 2005 and, after writing about and defending cases involving practitioners of the persecuted Falun Gong meditation discipline, was continually harassed by Chinese security forces before being detained and severely tortured.

On Dec. 22, 2006, Gao was given a suspended prison sentence of three years for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power.” He and his family were placed under house arrest, before his wife and children fled China in 2009 to reside in the United States.

Gao has been subjected to torture and other human rights abuses while in detention, and wrote an open letter in 2007 exposing some of this misconduct by his captors. Sun Yong, a member of the Chinese Human Rights Protection Group, said Gao is “said to often be abused” because he “understands the nature of the Communist Party, and thus suffers the most suppression.”

Geng He, Gao’s wife, maintains that Chinese Communist authorities are afraid Gao’s family would tell the international community of his situation if they visited him, which is why the letter appeared saying Gao did not want to see them.

She added that Gao Zhiyi, his brother, has continually told the Yulin City Public Security Bureau, located in Shaanxi Province—where Gao is from—that he wanted to see his brother in detention. Specifically, Gao Zhiyi told Chinese authorities he would visit during the 18th National Party Congress period, and “that is why authorities manipulated this letter and sent it to Gao Zhiyi,” preventing him from doing so, Geng He said.

“The authorities have never allowed us to see Gao Zhisheng; we are very anxious about his safety,” Gao Zhiyi told The Epoch Times.

“The [Chinese regime] has said that we can only see him with an approval document issued by the local police station,” he said, adding that the family would still attempt to visit him despite the length and cost of the trip.

Repeated Visitation Refusals

When Bo Xilai was removed as Communist Party head of Chongqing on March 15, Gao’s family got a phone call from the authorities that day, saying they could visit him, provided they did not tell anyone. Gao Zhiyi and his father-in-law were only allowed to visit Gao Zhisheng in the Shaya Prison in Xinjiang for a half-hour, after spending two years apart not knowing whether he was still alive, Geng He told The Epoch Times.

But she said that since March, no one in his family has been able to see her husband. She again turned to authorities in Europe and the United States to place pressure on the Chinese regime and allow visitation rights.

In August, Gao’s family lawyers, Beijing lawyers Li Xiongbing and Li Subin, attempted to meet with him, but were turned away.

The authorities declined visitation, saying Gao Zhisheng was himself a high-level lawyer and did not need legal representation, that the letter sent by his brother Gao Zhiyi did not meet the authorities’ requirements, and that Gao did not actually want to meet with his family or lawyers—a narrative that the recent missive appears designed to support.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Gao Zhisheng’s Family Receives Unusual Letter Asking Them Not to Visit | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

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Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Alive

29 March, 2012 at 17:51 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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Family allowed to visit in prison

By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times Staff

Gao Zhisheng, the famous Chinese human rights lawyer now jailed in the remote Western region of Xinjiang, was allowed an inaugural jail visit by his brother and his wife’s father, said his wife, Geng He.

The meeting between Gao Zhiyi, Gao Zhisheng’s brother, and Geng Yundi, Gao’s father-in-law, took place on March 24. Security agents escorted the two family members from Shaanxi Province to Xinjiang Province for the 30-minute meeting, which was conducted through telephone receptors and prison glass.

Geng He, who now lives in California, explained in a telephone interview late Tuesday evening the difficulties her brother-in-law had in meeting Gao Zhisheng. He arrived in Beijing on Feb. 24 and went to a series of government agencies, all of which sent him away. At one point he was detained by domestic security agents.

“My father spoke for 10 minutes, sitting on the stool,” Geng He said. “Gao asked about the health of everyone in the family. … My father said ‘Having seen you, I’m fine now.’ When Gao heard this, he cried.”

Gao is sometimes referred to as “China’s conscience.” He defended victims of injustice for years, before suffering the wrath of the Communist Party after writing letters to the leadership demanding an end to the persecution of Falun Gong.

He has been in the Shaya Prison in Xinjiang since December 2011, serving a three-year sentence that is widely seen to be arbitrary. One legal expert characterized it as a “rabbit out of the hat.”

The news confirms that Gao is alive and in stable health, which had been doubted after no news was heard for several months. Upon hearing the news, “We let out a sigh of relief,” Geng He said.

via Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Alive | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

More: Gao Zhisheng Visit Shows Chinese Security Chief’s Loss of Power


Chinese Communist Party’s Control Over Law Enforcement Under Fire

27 March, 2012 at 08:59 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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Law professor and netizens call for powerful committee to be dismantled

By Charlotte Cuthbertson and Jane Lin
Epoch Times Staff

China’s Nobel nominated human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, is intimately familiar with the malevolent hold the Communist Party has over every aspect China’s so-called legal system.

“The electric shock batons were thrust all over me,” recounted Gao Zhisheng. “And my full body, my heart, lungs and muscles began jumping under my skin uncontrollably. I was writhing on the ground in pain, trying to crawl away.”

In a letter published in February 2009, human rights lawyer Gao describes 50 days of torture by Chinese regime authorities, starting in September 2007.

“After a few hours of this I had no energy to even beg, let alone try to escape. But my mind was still clear. I felt my body was jerking very strongly when the baton touched me.”

Laughing, the guards taunted Gao with their prowess in torture techniques.

“Don’t you talk about torture by the Communist Party yet, because we will give you a comprehensive lesson now!” one guard told Gao. “You are correct, we torture Falun Gong. Everything is right. The 12 courses we’re going to give to you were practiced on the Falun Gong. To tell you the truth, I am not afraid that you will continue to write. We can torture you to death without your body being found.”

The guards worked under the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an all-powerful organ of the Chinese regime that controls nearly all aspects of law enforcement. The Committee has its hands in the court system; it controls the Ministry of Justice, the Public Security Bureau, the Ministry of State Security, and the Procuratorate—the highest agency at the national level responsible for both investigation and prosecution.

Chinese Regime in CrisisClick this tag or www.ept.ms/ccp-crisis to read about the most recent developments in the ongoing power struggle within the Chinese communist regime. Intra-CCP politics are a challenge to make sense of, even for veteran China watchers. Here we attempt to provide readers with the necessary context to understand the situation. Get the RSS feed. Get the Timeline of Events. Who are the Major PlayersChinese Regime in Crisis RSS Feed

If the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) determines a Chinese citizen is a threat to the regime, that citizen is in trouble. Dissidents, Christians, lawyers, Falun Gong practitioners, and citizens protesting land grabs feel the sharp end of the PLAC every day. Whether is it a sham trial or a trumped-up charge under the banner of “inciting state subversion” or “revealing state secrets,” if the PLAC wants you tortured, in a prison camp, or dead, they will most likely achieve it.

Recently, Zhang Zanning, a lawyer and law professor at Southeast University in China, posted an article on his blog, saying the PLAC is the “grossest violation of the Constitution” and called for it to be dismantled.

Zhang’s article was soon removed from his blog—most likely through an Internet censor that answers to the PLAC—and he had to re-direct readers to other sites. But the article had already been reposted on many Internet forums.

Read more: Chinese Communist Party’s Control Over Law Enforcement Under Fire | Regime | China | Epoch Times

Gao Zhisheng To Serve Three Year Prison Sentence

18 December, 2011 at 12:46 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times Staff

The high-profile and galvanizing Chinese human rights figure Gao Zhisheng, held by Chinese security forces almost continually since late 2006, has been officially sentenced to prison for three years.

The announcement, carried by Communist Party mouthpiece Xinhua, is a rare acknowledgment of Gao’s existence by officials, who have repeatedly refused to answer a chorus of protest from the international community about the treatment and whereabouts of the now-renowned lawyer.

The three year term was originally handed down on Dec. 22, 2006, for “subversion,” after he wrote a series of letters to top Party leaders calling for an end to the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group, following a career spent defending marginalized groups that got the raw end of the stick in dealings with Chinese authorities.

The sentence was suspended for a five year probationary period, and those five years are going to end next month.

Now the regime is finding a way to cloak its continued persecution of Gao in a legal facade, according to Maran Turner, Executive Director of Freedom Now, a non-profit that works to free prisoners of conscience.

“They may have come under fire, so they had to come up with a way to say he’s not dead while keeping him in custody,” Turner said in a telephone interview. “They clearly don’t want to release him, and this maybe serves that purpose… It’s bizarre.”

The recent Xinhua statement claims that Gao violated the terms of his probation, and so would serve the original sentence.

But it is unclear which of the provisions he may have violated, or how he could possibly have done so.

Article 75 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China says that a criminal whose sentence is suspended must “observe laws and… submit to supervision; report on his own activities…; observe the regulations for receiving visitors…; report to obtain approval from the observing organ for any departure from the city or county he lives in…”

Bob Fu, executive director of ChinaAid, who runs the website FreeGao.com, said: “This is a totally unacceptable and laughable decision, because Gao has been in the custody of Chinese security forces for most of the past five years. How and when could he have committed any crime in violation of his so-called probation?”

Fu said the decision is “nothing more than persecution against a brave human rights lawyer who has already experienced so much torture and abuse.” He added: “The international community should demand Gao’s immediate release and President Obama should speak up loudly that this kind of heinous decision will not bring international respect for China.”

Gao has been in the near-constant custody of Chinese security forces since February 2009, and has been repeatedly denied visits by family. Chinese authorities have not disclosed his location. Before then, from his sentence in December 2006, he was in and out of the hands of Chinese security forces (but mostly in, according to Fu), frequently captured and held incommunicado for months before being released briefly, only to be kidnapped again.

In his 2006 memoir “A China More Just,” Gao Zhisheng says that the Communist Party uses “the most savage, most immoral, and most illegal means to torture our mothers, torture our wives, torture our children, and torture our brothers and sisters…” after he spent several months investigating the techniques of torture used by the Communist Party against adherents of Falun Gong.

Gao himself came to be on the receiving end of such torture after speaking out. At one stage during his detention in 2008, cigarettes were held to his eyes and toothpicks inserted into his genitals in a 54-day torture session he wrote about in an essay titled “Dark Night, Dark Hood And Kidnapping By Dark Mafia.”

Gao also renounced his membership in the Communist Party in December 2005, calling it an “inhumane, unjust, and evil Party.” He said renouncing the Party was the “proudest day of my life.”

via Gao Zhisheng To Serve Three Year Prison Sentence | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

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Chinese Regime Touts Human Rights Record, Says US Report

24 October, 2011 at 22:01 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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Communist China Touts Its Human Rights Record, Says US Government Report

By Gary Feuerberg
Epoch Times Staff

WASHINGTON—In a new twist, according to a newly released U.S. government report, this year China not only continues to disregard basic human rights and international law and standards, but audaciously claims to be a champion of human rights and the rule of law. No longer on the defensive, China’s leaders now confidently assert China has been making remarkable progress on human rights and the rule of law.

Chinese officials abuse criminal law by charging people they don’t like with “subversion,” “splittism,” and “disrupting social order.” Using these provisions in the law, they imprison “labor advocates, writers, Internet essayists, democracy advocates, and Tibetan and Uyghur writers, and journalists who engaged in peaceful expression and assembly,” says the report.


During the past year, not only has China’s human rights record not improved, says the CECC report, but in some areas, it is worsening. The commission noted that Chinese officials ignore the laws in place to protect against arbitrary detention and have been strengthening laws to use as an instrument of repression.

During the 2011 reporting year, numerous cases were reported of “missing” or “disappeared” persons. They had been taken into custody but little or no information was given out about their whereabouts or potential charges against them. In the first half of 2011, many lawyers and rights activists known for advocating on behalf of sensitive causes and groups were subjected to enforced disappearance. The situation drew criticism in April from the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID).

The CECC report cites a Chinese Human Rights Defenders report that asserts, “At least 22 prominent Chinese rights advocates—including well known artist and public advocate Ai Weiwei, petitioner Zhou Li, and writer Gu Chuan—had been subjected to enforced disappearances.”

In the case of Ai Weiwei, authorities refused to notify his family of the charges against him or his whereabouts and kept him at a secret location. Ai was kept in a cell without windows and was accompanied by two guards during the 81 days held in custody. Authorities only released Ai on bail in June on the condition that he not give interviews or use Twitter.

In defiance of international standards, the regime has drafted a revision to its criminal procedure law that would legalize disappearances.

Population Planning Campaigns

During the 2011 reporting year, the commission noted reports of official population planning enforcement campaigns “in which officials used violent methods to coerce citizens to undergo sterilizations or abortions or pay heavy fines for having out-of-plan children.”

One such campaign began in Yangchun, Guandong Province in March 2011. This campaign’s primary goals were the sterilization of mothers with two daughters and “the implementation of ‘remedial measures’ for out-of-plan pregnancies,” in other words, involuntary abortions.

In Shandong Province, September 2010, local family planning officials reportedly forced a woman to undergo an abortion when she was six months pregnant. The reason: her husband had been three months younger than the legal marriage age at the time the child was conceived.

In Fujian Province, October 2010, local family planning officials reportedly abducted a woman who was eight months pregnant. They forcibly injected her with a substance that aborted the fetus.

In at least eight provincial-level jurisdictions, local governments ratcheted up the rhetoric—“spare no efforts”—to implement coercive population planning measures this year, including intrauterine device (IUD) inspections, IUD implants, pregnancy inspections, and even late-term abortions and sterilizations.

According to several reports that appeared in May 2011, the CECC said the official implementation of population planning policies resulted in the illegal abduction and sale of children by local officials.

“From 2000 to 2005 in Hunan Province, family planning officials reportedly took at least 16 children—allegedly born in violation of population planning policies—from their families and sold them to local orphanages. In many of the reported cases, officials took the children because their families could not pay the steep fines levied against them for violating population planning regulations,” says the report.

The blind, self-trained legal advocate, Chen Guangcheng, was released in September 2010 after a four-year, three-month sentence for exposing population planning abuses of forced abortions and sterilizations. But freedom for Chen and his wife has meant an onerous, extralegal house arrest, violent house raids, and beatings.

Other activists have been detained and abused “with little or no basis in Chinese law.” Hu Jia, a human rights and environmental advocate; and Hada, a Mongol rights advocate, faced house arrest, with their families, after completion of their prison sentences.

Repressing Speech and Belief

“The 2011 [CECC] report notes that China’s leaders have tightened their grip on Chinese society and grown more aggressive in disregarding the very laws and international standards that they claim to uphold,” Smith said.

Authorities reacted defensively amid calls for nonviolent, ‘‘Jasmine’’ protests in various cities in China. Beginning in mid-February after the protests in the Middle East and North Africa, calls for peaceful ‘‘Jasmine’’ protests in China to take place each Sunday appeared online. An anonymous statement circulated in China, urging Chinese citizens to demonstrate for democratic reforms and against corruption in China.

A few days after the appearance of the first online call for protests, Chinese communist leader Hu Jintao required that leaders strengthen “social management” and safeguard social harmony and stability.

Read more: Chinese Regime Touts Human Rights Record, Says US Report | World | Epoch Times

The Country Where the Good People are Persecuted and the Crooks Benefited

7 April, 2011 at 19:50 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps | Leave a comment
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In China, the Chinese Communist Party persecutes good people and rewards those who do bad deeds…

The following article “A Traffic Accident, Turned Murder, Turned Social Critique” shows so clearly how much the morality has fallen in China among those in power and their supporters, and really how inverted the world is there. In China, in the state-sponsored and state-controlled television channel CCTV, they defend the offender and his crime, a murder! And it’s not the first time this happens…

Doesn’t everything fall into pieces when good ethical values ​​no longer exist that can guide people? China is a typical atheist country where the older generation still has memories of the old Chinese culture values ​​(from Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism) on how to conduct oneself. CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has done everything possible to eradicate this culture and only letting its own state-controlled version of religion be allowed, basically. CCP’s culture and mentality is in essence very evil, based on struggle and violence.

Qin Yongmin, one of the founders of the Democratic Party in Zhejiang province, said in a telephone interview with The Epoch Times: “Today’s China is full of various chaotic social phenomena with people living in total disregard of morality or integrity.” He added that a flourishing civil society will be a precondition for repairing those ills.
Zan Aizong, member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, a human rights and literary organization, said that in the face of cases like this stabbing, if the Communist Party does not consider justice and fairness important, then such incidents will recur. “This country is doomed if the law is not taken seriously.” Excerpt from the article below.

During the Cultural Revolution the brainwashing of the Chinese people was intense by means of violence and the struggle for the ideas of communism to be imprinted was strong. Brainwash is still one of the methods used in labor camps to “convert” people, through torture in various forms:

On October 29, 2002, Liu Boyang was sent to two years of forced labor at Chaoyanggou Labor Camp in Changchun City. In December, the police forced him to sit on cold cement floors all day long and prohibited him from sleeping at night. During the day, he was forced to attend brainwashing classes. In June 2004, when his term was over, the labor camp refused to release him and found some excuse to add 47 days to his term. Liu was a graduate of a medical university. He was a good person, and was kind to children and respectful to the elderly. Every year he was a model worker at the hospital. A woman surnamed Wang told me the above experiences of Ms. Wang and Mr. Liu so rapidly she spoke almost in one breath. Source: “We Must Immediately Stop the Brutality That Suffocates Our Nation’s Conscience and Morality” Gao Zhisheng’s third open letter to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.

Here you can read more about the Chinese Communist Party’s evil mentality. CCP is one of the most evil regimes in the world today. Just look how they behave! And how they treat their own citizens!

A Traffic Accident, Turned Murder, Turned Social Critique

Rich kid’s stabbing of peasant highlights China’s deep social tensions

By Jeanmarie Lunsford & Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times Staff

The lurid story of how a peasant girl named Zhang Miao was stabbed eight times to death by well-to-do college junior Yao Jiaxin last year, after he struck her with his car, has turned into a wide-ranging social debate about the “rich second generation.

”The term refers to those who have benefited most from China’s Leninist-corporatist model of development, whereby those with the opportunity and connections get rich—sometimes very rich—while others are left far behind.

Editorials, blogs, and discussion forums have been buzzing with talk of what punishment should be meted out to Yao. Some say it hinges on whether he should be classed as one of the elite or not.

The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV adopted a quietly forgiving tone in its coverage, according to bloggers, in an apparent attempt to diffuse the social tensions enmeshed in the case. The trial began on March 23. Netizens then savaged the official channel for what they saw as its attempts at manipulating public opinion.

On one program, a psychologist invited to speak on CCTV commented that Yao’s stabbing the woman eight times was “repeating his movements of playing the piano when being forced to do so in the past.”

Read more: A Traffic Accident, Turned Murder, Turned Social Critique | China | Epoch Times

Chinese Regime Rebukes UN Agency for Demanding Release of Gao Zhisheng – Please Sign Petition

3 April, 2011 at 09:10 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Gisela Sommer
Epoch Times Staff

A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry told a United Nations human rights group to stay out of its business in regards to the detention of the prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

The human rights group Freedom Now revealed in a statement on Monday that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had asked for Gao’s immediate release. The U.N. Working Group had said the Chinese communist regime is violating international law by detaining him and is failing to meet “even the minimum international standards for due process.”

A letter by the chair of the U.N. Working Group demanding Gao’s immediate release had been forwarded to the Chinese regime on July 6, 2010.

Upon the failure of the Chinese regime to respond to the letter, the U.N. Working Group issued an Opinion on Gao’s case on November 19, 2010.

The U.N. Working Group Opinion stated: “In light of the allegations made, the Working Group would have welcomed the cooperation of the government [of China]. In the absence of any information from the government, the Working Group believes that it is in a position to render an opinion on the facts and circumstances of the cases, especially since the facts and allegations contained in the communication have not been challenged by the government.”

The Opinion goes on to say: “The detention of Mr. Gao is arbitrary because the government has not invoked any legal basis justifying his deprivation of liberty. Mr. Gao has not been formally charged with any offense under criminal law or any other Chinese law. Further, his current detention may be related to actions for which he was previously detained; in particular, his advocacy on behalf of persecuted religious groups.”

At a news conference in Beijing on March 29, spokeswoman Jian Yu said she did not know specifics about Mr. Gao’s case and told the U.N. not to interfere. Jian said that U.N. human rights mechanisms should “maintain an objective and impartial attitude and to respect China’s judicial sovereignty.”

Read more: Chinese Regime Rebukes UN Agency for Demanding Release of Gao Zhisheng | World | Epoch Times

Here you can sign a petition for the release of Gao Zhisheng!

Target: President Hu Jintao
Sponsored by:

Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been beaten, blinded, and had his family’s safety threatened after being arrested numerous times since 2006. All because he refuses to stop fighting for freedom and human rights in China.

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, and Gao Zhisheng and others like him have risked everything to fight for it.

In 2010, Gao Zhisheng’s was briefly released after huge international outcry about the injustice of his arrest. Only two weeks later, though, he was taken once again. Now, Gao’s wife does not even know if he is still alive. She, his children, and everyone who looked to him as a voice of freedom and justice deserve to know the truth.

Outrage from the international community made a difference for Gao before; now we must do it again. Tell the Chinese government Gao Zhisheng deserves freedom and justice.

Gao Zhisheng Wins Freedom of Expression Award

27 March, 2011 at 08:55 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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New Tang Dynasty Television

Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhesheng has been awarded the Bindmans Law and Campaigning award at the Index on Censorship: Freedom of Expression Awards in London. Gao was being recognized for his work in representing vulnerable and persecuted groups in China.

The self-taught lawyer represented victims of medical malpractice, house Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners. In 2005, Gao publicly quit the Chinese Communist Party, and in 2007 wrote a letter to the United States Congress urging them to boycott the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, due to the Chinese regime’s abuses of human rights. The Chinese regime abducted Gao shortly afterwards, and he has been in and out of custody ever since – his current whereabouts are unknown.

Gao’s wife Geng He sent a video message to accept the award for Gao at the ceremony in London on March 24th. In her speech Geng said:

“My husband is a human rights lawyer. He resisted unbearable pressure to support his clients. He voluntarily represented the poor to the best of his ability. He never bowed to money or power; he stood up to threats from people in authority. He regarded his law profession not only a job, but also as a means to propagate fairness, to reinstate justice, and conscience. He was an attorney in great demand until the government revoked his license, closed his law firm, placed our whole family under surveillance. They even deprived my daughter of her education.”

“Since my husband’s last public appearance we have endured nearly a year of total silence. All those days, our children and I have lived with worry and anxiety. Gao’s disappearance, in the past, has synchronised with brutality and shocking torture by the state. My husband’s case is a true presentation of China’s ongoing human rights crisis.”

“On behalf of my husband Mr Gao Zhisheng, thank you Index On Censorship for this honourable award which recognises Gao for his efforts in safeguarding human rights and freedom of speech in China.”

Index on Censorship was founded in 1972 and describes itself as Britain’s leading organization promoting freedom of expression. Others who received awards on Thursday include Egyptian independent newspaper editor Ibrahim Eissa. Eissa was one of the voices calling for democratic change in the run up to the recent Egyptian revolution.

Read the original article

via Gao Zhisheng Wins Freedom of Expression Award | China | Epoch Times

Congressman: China’s Hu a ‘gangster’

20 January, 2011 at 13:50 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | 1 Comment
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GOP Rep: China A ‘Gangster’ — And Religion-Sup…
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Quote: “Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) says China should be treated as a ‘gangster regime that murders their own people.'”

(If problems with the video, you can also see it here )

Finally someone who dares to speak the truth about CCP (Chinese Communist Party).

US Congressman: Chinese Regime a ‘Gangster Regime’

While Hu Jintao was being treated very diplomatically during the press conference at the White House, one congressman was not pulling any punches. Other congressmen are distancing themselves from Hu.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) on Wednesday morning referred to the Chinese regime as a “gangster regime.”

In an interview on CNN’s “Parker-Spitzer” talk show Wednesday evening, Congressman Rohrabacher explained what he meant.

Rohrabacher said of China, “This is a gangster regime that murders their own people and should be treated that way or they won’t respect us…

“There has been no reform, no liberal reform in China at all. There is no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom of assembly. … There are no opposition parties in China. Anyone who sticks their head up in China is immediately thrown into prison.”

Rohrabacher said the worst feature of China’s human rights record was its “ongoing repression of religion.”

Link to article

Confronting China’s Failure on Religious Freedom – The Huffington Post

By Leonard Leo, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and Don Argue, Vice Chairman of USCIRF.

For decades, the United States has failed to address the abysmal human rights record of China, the world’s most populous nation, with sufficient clarity or strength.

As President Obama meets Chinese President Hu Jintao, he has a unique opportunity to correct this failure. For the sake of freedom, and the ultimate interests of both countries, he should seize the opportunity, advocating a new approach to conventional U.S.-China diplomacy. He should proclaim that a fundamental aim of our China policy is the expansion of liberty, including freedom of religion and belief.

Religion, like capitalism, is expanding rapidly in China. Involving hundreds of millions of people, it is one of the biggest parts of China’s civil society, a point not lost on senior-level Communist officials. President Hu has acknowledged this fact, as well as the notion that religion can promote “morality” and “economic and social development.”

Yet while China is lightening the regulatory load on business, it continues its egregious oppression of religious groups and individuals. Official recognition of religion is limited to those religious groups that have effectively surrendered control to the government by “registering” with the authorities.

Groups that refuse to register or that peacefully resist attempts at government control are deemed enemies of the state and are treated as such. Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, and movements like the Falun Gong face severe sanctions, including fines, confiscation of property, imprisonment, and torture in detention, as well as control over the selection of religious leaders, as evidenced in November by the appointment of a Catholic bishop without papal recognition. Thousands of individuals languish in jail and hundreds more are detained each year for peacefully expressing their beliefs or desire for greater religious freedom.

Chinese lawyers who defend religious freedom are often dealt the harshest abuse. There have been a number of “disappearances” of such advocates, most notably Gao Zhisheng, who defended Tibetans, Uighurs, the Falun Gong, and unregistered Protestants.

Read more here

More articles: Obama hosts Hu Jintao on state visit, presses China on human rights

Chinese Embassy Pays Students to Welcome ‘Chairman Hu’

China, Easing and Edging US Out of Asia

Gao Zhisheng’s New Article: Speaking from My Heart

15 January, 2011 at 11:38 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Gao Zhisheng

Editor’s note: In 2007 the Chinese civil rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng wrote the article “Dark Night, Dark Hood, and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia,” which gives a harrowing account of 50 days of torture he endured at the hands of Chinese security agents in September, October, and November 2007.

The article was released for publication after Gao was once again arrested on Feb. 6, 2009. Gao’s wife, Geng He, recently discovered the prologue to “Dark Night,” the article “Speaking From My Heart.” She has authorized The Epoch Times to publish it for the first time in English.

Under Heaven’s watchful eye, and amidst the vast free and civilized world, there is no evil that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would shy away from or is incapable of. It is truly shocking!

Even though China possesses 1.3 billion fellow citizens, my family, bereft of support, can be so very helpless!

Before September 2007, there were only four people in China who refused to follow the Chinese Communist Party and persisted in being friends with me openly. As a result, one of them is continually followed by police; the other three were kidnapped in September and suffered brutal beatings and mental torture.

In 2008, Hu Jia, who continued to refuse to follow the orders of the CCP, was held in prison. Huang Yan was kidnapped and kept in prison with Falun Gong practitioners where she suffered cruel torture. In addition, Huang heard and witnessed that the torture Falun Gong adherents had suffered was even more terrifying. Under the intimidation of torture, no one dares to communicate with me openly in today’s China.

It is now extremely difficult for me to make my voice heard. Moreover, I am constantly in a situation of peril. For more than three years, the authorities have invested a large amount of manpower, money, as well as employed the most merciless methods, to achieve their goal of silencing me.

In November last year when I lived in a hotel, police shared the same room with me, stifling every morsel of personal freedom. They have actually achieved their purpose of turning me into an alive but pitiful human being. I often tell my wife Geng jokingly: “Six billion people live together on our global village, but our family is severed from the rest of the world.”

Outsiders may feel that my family is leading an extremely miserable life. As a matter of fact, my wife is the one who has suffered the most. I am optimistic by nature, and I believe in the Creator.

Even when I was tortured to near-death, the pain was only in the physical body. A heart that is filled with God has no room to entertain pain and suffering. I often sing along loudly with my two children, but my wife never joins us. Despite all my efforts, she still feels miserable in her heart.

The root of her suffering comes from the fact that our daughter Gege cannot go to school. Since she was forbidden to go to school, I was also in despair for a while. There is nothing more traumatizing than this. Shocked and outraged, I continuously protest to the authorities. My wife Geng is on the brink of a mental breakdown over this matter.

I’d like to take this opportunity to appeal to those friends who still enjoy a certain measure of freedom to continue to show your concern for Guo Feixiong, and to help his wife and children. When the CCP’s hired thugs are everywhere on China’s soil, when our nation’s spirit falls into an impasse, we need heroes like Guo who fight for the people.

These courageous heroes, Guo Feixiong, Hu Jia, Yang Tianshui, Chen Guangcheng, Xu Wanping, Wang Bingzhang and Guo Quan, who sacrifice and risk their lives to defend China’s freedom and belief, are the true hope of China. If we offer more help to them and their loved ones today, our children and grandchildren will not feel ashamed of us when looking back in this chapter of history.

In today’s China, we know in our hearts that kindness and moral values are getting harder to find. Hu Jia’s experience further demonstrated a harsh reality – it is not only difficult but also dangerous to be a morally righteous person.

Since ancient times, people have long believed that kindness will be repaid with kindness, and evil will be repaid with evil. However, this belief has been devastated in today’s China where the Communist Party culture has infiltrated into every order of society.

In the old days when tradition was maintained, people cherished and protected virtues and kindness. However, in today’s China, the upholding of moral values and goodness has been uprooted. The Chinese communist regime has become synonymous for immorality and evil.

Read more: Gao Zhisheng’s New Article: Speaking from My Heart | Opinion | Epoch Times

More info: AP Exclusive: Missing Chinese Lawyer Told of Abuse

Gao Zhisheng’s Friends Call for His Release – Epoch Times

Wife of missing Chinese lawyer fears for his life – The Washington Times

AP Exclusive: Missing Chinese Lawyer Told of Abuse

14 January, 2011 at 11:48 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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The Associated Press

Monday, January 10, 2011; 6:21 AM

BEIJING — The police stripped Gao Zhisheng bare and pummeled him with handguns in holsters. For two days and nights, they took turns beating him and did things he refused to describe. When all three officers tired, they bound his arms and legs with plastic bags and threw him to the floor until they caught their breath to resume the abuse.

“That degree of cruelty, there’s no way to recount it,” the civil rights lawyer said, his normally commanding voice quavering. “For 48 hours my life hung by a thread.”

The beatings were the worst he said he ever endured and the darkest point of 14 months, ending last March, during which Gao was secretly held by Chinese authorities. He described his ordeal to The Associated Press that April, but asked that his account not be made public unless he went missing again or made it to “someplace safe” like the United States or Europe.

Two weeks later, he disappeared again. His family and friends say they have not heard from him in the more than eight months since. Police agencies either declined to comment or said they did not know Gao’s whereabouts. The AP decided to publish his account given the length of his current disappearance.

Gao had been a galvanizing figure for the rights movement, advocating constitutional reform and arguing landmark cases to defend property rights and political and religious dissenters, including members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. His disappearance in 2009 set off an international outcry that may have played a role in winning his brief release last year.

Among democracy and rights campaigners, Gao appears to have been singled out for frequent, harsh punishment beyond the slim protections of China’s laws.

“It seems to be that they are afraid of Gao in a way they aren’t of others,” Maran Turner, the executive director of Freedom Now, a Washington-based group that advocates for political prisoners, Gao among them.

[…] Weeks of inactivity were punctuated by outbursts of brutality. He was hooded several times. His captors tied him up with belts, made him sit motionless for up to 16 hours and told him his children were having nervous breakdowns. They threatened to kill him and dump his body in a river.

“‘You must forget you’re human. You’re a beast,'” Gao said his police tormentors told him in September 2009.

Read more: AP Exclusive: Missing Chinese lawyer told of abuse

More info: Gao Zhisheng’s New Article: Speaking from My Heart

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