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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Monday, August 15, 2011

European Parliament VP writes to Gao Zhisheng’s Wife in Support of Her Efforts to Free Gao

China Aid Association

(Brussels, Belgium – Aug. 15, 2011) On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the arrest of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, the vice president of the European Parliament has written a letter to Gao’s wife reiterating his admiration for Gao and his support of her efforts to win his freedom.

In the August 12 letter to Gao’s wife Geng He, Edward McMillan-Scott called Gao “a truly great man” and said, “I believe [he] will one day be part of China’s future.”

McMillan-Scott recalled the discussions he had had with Gao before the lawyer disappeared into police custody and said, “If my contact with him formed any part of his subsequent difficulties I am truly sorry: he did however tell me that he knew the risks he ran for the cause of democracy, human rights and reform in China.”

Gao was arrested on Aug. 15, 2006, and sentenced later that year to three years imprisonment and five years probation. The sentence was later suspended, but in the past five years, Gao has disappeared into police custody no less than six times. His most recent forced disappearance occurred 16 months ago, in April 2010.

McMillan-Scott said, “Gao’s welfare remains my absolute priority.”

Read his full letter below:

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP
Vice-President of the European Parliament
Democracy and Human Rights
Yorkshire & Humber, UK
Tel +32 (0) 2 28 45959
August 12 2011

Dear Geng He,

Thank you very much for the letter (below) which you wrote on July 11 from New York and which has been passed on to me concerning the fifth anniversary of Gao Zhisheng’s arrest on August 15 2006.

I was really touched by the nature and content of the letter. Your attitudes reflect the values which shone through my discussions with your husband, and which illuminate his letters and other writings. He is a truly great man and I believe will one day be part of China’s future. If my contact with him formed any part of his subsequent difficulties I am truly sorry: he did however tell me that he knew the risks he ran for the cause of democracy, human rights and reform in China.

I know too of the regard in which he held you and the love he had for you and the children, especially his anguish that he was causing you to have a hard life. I hope that he knows that you and the children have found safety and freedom in the USA and I have nothing but admiration for the way in which you took this decision, and also for those who organised your escape from Beijing.

As you know, there are millions in China and elsewhere, especially victims of religious repression and persecution, who patiently await a China more just, to use Gao’s own words, and who venerate him for his courageous championship. Please be assured that Gao’s welfare remains my absolute priority.

I am copying this letter as well as yours to Lady Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for External Relations, as well as to the President of the European Parliament, both of whom have taken a close personal interest in your husband’s imprisonment, torture and disappearance.

Yours very sincerely and in hope,

Edward McMillan-Scott

Translation of Geng He’s July 11 letter to McMillan-Scott:

Dear Edward;

I hope you are doing well! I am Chinese human rights lawyer Gao, Zhisheng’s wife. I wish I could have gone to Europe for the launch of my husband’s book in the Czech Republic and I could have met you in Europe. Regretfully, I could not make it due to the pre‐engagement my children have for the summer. Nevertheless, I would like to send you my most sincere appreciation for your continuous attention and appeal for Gao. It always warms our heart when we think of what you have done for our family.

As you may already know, Gao has disappeared again in April 2010 after his brief appearance. It has been about 15 months. We completely have no idea his whereabouts. As his wife, I constantly wonder where he is and whether he is being tortured. There is always pain that penetrates deeply into my heart and makes it difficult for me to either sleep or eat. My two children have also been miserable. I told myself, I can’t wait any longer, I must fight even harder to gain my husband’s release.

Gao chose the lawyer profession for simple reasons. He hoped to protect social justice through legal means and to seek justice for those persecuted. Unfortunately, he was illegally arrested on August 15, 2006. He then was sentenced to a three‐year suspended prison sentence over a five year reprieve for subversion. Even according to the Chinese communist’s own laws, August 14th of this year should be the date when Gao should be completely free and can come home. I strongly demand the Chinese communist government to release Gao and compensate all of his sufferings. I know, however, that this goal can’t be accomplished without enough outside pressure placed on the regime. I hope you could continue to help us to gain Gao’s freedom and have him come home on time. Our whole family really appreciate all of your help!

Sincerely Yours,

Geng, He
July 11, 2011