About Gao Zhisheng

Gao Zhisheng is one of the most unyielding and iconic advocates for justice in China having been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize (2008 and 2010). In response to Gao's legal defense of human rights activists and religious minorities and his documentation of human rights abuses in China, Gao has been disbarred, and harassed, imprisoned and tortured numerous times.

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Recent News

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Persecuted Christian human rights lawyer releases memoir

Lawyer He Junren (left) and Grace
Geng (right) introduce her father's book.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Hong Kong—June 16, 2016) A book by a repeatedly imprisoned and tortured Christian human rights lawyer became available for purchase in Taiwan and Hong Kong on Tuesday. Written in secret, it describes the atrocities he experienced while incarcerated and outlines predictions for the fall of the Communist Party.

Grace Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer known for his defense of religious practitioners, presented her father’s newly-released book at a book launch organized by China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group on June 14. The book, titled Stand Up China 2017 – China’s Hope: What I Learned During Five Years as a Political Prisoner, is in three parts, focusing on the details of Gao’s torture, predictions for the downfall of the Communist Party and speculations about the future of China, respectively.

“He hopes that the book can provide more insight and suggestions for those who are interested in the future developments of China,” Geng said. “He also hopes that everyone will plan for our future after reading the book. He said that a great nation will at last ‘stand up.’ At that time, we will all become a civilized and harmonious force.”

Stand Up China 2017 - China's Hope: What I
Learned During Five Years as a Political
, written by Gao Zhisheng, details
torture he experienced at the hands of the
government and predicts the fall of the
Communist Party.
(Photo: China Aid)
Local police kidnapped and illegally held Gao in Nov. 2004 for writing letters to government officials denouncing the persecution of practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that combines exercises with a set of moral tenets. He was charged with “inciting subversion of state power,” given a three-year prison sentence and released on a five-year probation on Dec. 22, 2006.

Authorities began torturing him after he was taken into police custody again on Sept. 21, 2007. After his release 50 days later, he penned “Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia,” for which The American Board of Trial Advocates awarded him the Courageous Advocacy Award. In this article, he documented the various ways authorities mistreated him, which included shoving needles into his genitals and beating him with electric batons.

Government personnel abducted him once more on Feb. 4, 2009. He resurfaced on March 27, 2010, only to disappear into police custody again on April 20 of the same year, after he spread news of his torture. As a result, authorities sentenced him to three years in Shaya Prison, located in Xinjiang. His family had no contact with him for 21 months.

Gao was released on Aug. 7, 2014, although he says that “released” should be in quotation marks, because he has been subjected to constant supervision. Additionally, he has been repeatedly denied dental care— as officials claim that a trip to the dentist would endanger national security—despite having lost several teeth due to an undiagnosed condition. According to Geng, he is currently in Yulin, Shanxi province under the watch of 10 government officials.

“His mental condition is very good,” Geng said. “His physical condition is not good, but he is slowly recovering. We are hopeful that he will be able go to the city to do a comprehensive physical examination.”

Speaking of the possibility that her father will face retribution for publishing this work, she said, “He is brave enough to face the consequences. He can take any consequences if he thinks what he’s doing is right … I greatly respect his conduct and deeds; I also feel proud of him and his achievements. If he thinks what he’s doing is necessary, the whole family will fully support him.”

China Aid reports on cases such as the publishing of Gao Zhisheng’s book in order to promote human rights and rule of law in China.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

South China Morning Post: Misery endures for Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, ‘freed’ after three years in solitary confinement

South China Morning Post
Published : Wednesday, 15 June, 2016, 12:06am
Updated : Wednesday, 15 June, 2016, 12:06am

■ A prominent human rights lawyer has been kept under house arrest and denied medical care since his release two years ago, his ­daughter said in Hong Kong ­yesterday.

Gao Zhisheng, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was under house arrest in a remote village in Shaanxi province, where he lives with his brother, and was not permitted to leave the courtyard of their home, said Geng Ge.

Gao, 52, could eat only liquid foods because of the poor ­condition of his teeth and he had not been allowed to visit a dentist, said Geng, 23.

She was in the city to present her father’s latest book, Stand Up China 2017 – China’s Hope: What I Learned During Five Years as a Political Prisoner.

Geng Ge, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, attends the launch of her
father's book at the Legco Building in Tamar. Photo: K.Y.
The family has been living apart, with Geng and her mother living in the United States, while Gao remains on the mainland, she said. She had not seen her father in seven years and communication remained difficult, she said. Their last conversation, which took place about six weeks ago, was possible only because the guards happened to stray from their post, she said.

Gao rose to international prominence for defending members of the banned Falun Gong sect and fighting for farmers’ land rights. He has been in and out of detention since 2006, but in 2010, he angered authorities by publicly denouncing the torture he said he had undergone. He was jailed for three years in 2011 for “instigating subversion of the state” and was released in August 2014.

He spent those three years in solitary confinement, according to his book, the manuscript of which was smuggled out of the mainland.

In the book, Gao details the physical abuse he endured while in custody.

He was tortured with an electric baton held to his face and was forced to wear a blindfold when he needed to use the toilet. On one occasion, when he was being deprived of sleep and forced to stand, whenever he faltered his knees were struck. Whenever he showered, no fewer than six guards would watch him, he said. He was also forbidden to talk.
At the very beginning, I did not totally understand. I ­wondered why our father couldn’t be with us 
Geng Ge, daughter of Gao Zhisheng
Geng He, Gao’s wife, said when he was released he had lost about 23kg and could barely eat or talk.

In his book, Gao predicts the rule of the Communist Party will end in 2017 – a revelation he says he received from God. He outlines a plan to build up a democratic China after the party’s collapse.

After being freed in 2014, he said he deeply missed his family, but chose to remain in China in the hope of someday playing a role in changing the country.

“At the very beginning, I did not totally understand. I ­wondered why our father couldn’t be with us,” said his daughter, sobbing.

“But ... after some time, I came to think of his decision as truly great. He loves the Chinese people so much that he put his family in second place. I think that what he thinks is very, very great, so I am very proud of it.”

Geng Ge said her father was prepared to face possible retaliation after publishing the book.

“He is ready physically and mentally,” she said. “And he told us: ‘I hope you can be ready’.”

Agence France-Presse: China rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng ready for consequences over new book: Daughter

Agence France-Presse
Published Jun 14, 2016, 6:45 PM SGT

■ Hong Kong (AFP) - A leading dissident lawyer in China is prepared to face the consequences over his new book predicting the possible collapse of the ruling Communist Party, his tearful daughter said on Tuesday (June 14).

Gao Zhisheng has been under house arrest since 2014 after serving a three-year prison term on
subversion-related charges - a sentence which sparked an international outcry.

Daughter Grace Gao said the 52-year-old was about to publish a book written in custody and was ready to accept the consequences.

"He told us we (the family) should be prepared. To him he is physically and mentally prepared," the 23-year-old told a press conference.

Grace Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, a renowned human
rights lawyer in China, holds her father's book A Human
Rights Lawyer under Torture - the auto narratives of Gao
Zhisheng in Hong Kong, on June 14, 2016. Photo: AFP
Gao has indicated he is determined to sacrifice his freedom despite being separated from his family, she said, bursting into tears.

"He's determined he is not going to leave China... for things he thinks are right to do," Grace Gao said. "He is putting his family aside... he thinks there are things bigger than ourselves."

Gao's wife Geng He fled to the United States in 2009 with Grace and their other child.

The wide-ranging book discusses the physical abuse Gao endured under detention, his faith in God and his belief that the Communist Party could collapse next year.

It has been brought out by a Taiwanese publisher and will go on sale there this week. But the publisher is still looking for a distributor in Hong Kong, said pro-democracy lawmaker Albert Ho.

The dissident lives in an isolated village in Shaanxi province. Ho, a friend of Gao, would not say how the manuscript was delivered to the publisher.

Gao fell foul of Chinese authorities by championing the rights of vulnerable people including underground Christians, aggrieved miners and members of the banned Falungong spiritual movement.

He was convicted in 2006 of "subversion of state power" and given a three-year suspended prison sentence.

State media said in 2011 that he had been ordered to serve the sentence after a Beijing court ruled he had violated the terms of his probation.

The decision was criticised by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and rights groups such as Amnesty International.

Upon his 2014 release, his family said he had suffered abuse in prison and malnutrition that led to severe tooth damage.

Grace said her father was still living in "difficult" conditions and not receiving proper care.

China imprisons a number of high-profile critics including Liu Xiaobo, the writer and democracy advocate who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.