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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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Focal Point: Whether Gao Zhiyi Will Be Allowed to Visit Gao Zhisheng

By Zhang Min, Anchor, Spiritual Journey, Radio Free Asia
January 7, 2012

Gao and his son
On January 1, 2012, Gao Zhiyi received a notice from the Shaya Jail, which did not mention when the family could visit Gao Zhisheng.

The previous program reported that, on December 16, twenty months after the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was disappeared, Xinhua News Agency issued a brief English release, saying Gao would be sent back to jail to serve his three year terms due to violation of probation rules.

However, since then, there had been no further information on which prison Gao would be put into, and no verdict available to the family, and no notice on when the family could visit him, till January 1, 2012, when Gao Zhiyi, brother of Gao Zhisheng who lives in north Shan’an Xi, received a notice from the Shaya Jail of Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region telling him that his brother was jailed there, yet short of mentioning when the family could visit him.

Last week, relatives of Gao Zhisheng, in China and overseas, made many phone calls to the Shaya Jail, but failed to reach anyone. Gao Zhiyi has contacted several attorneys in most recent days, and plans to travel to the jail with the power of attorney.

Gao Zhiyi: The power of attorney is ready. I will leave for the Shaya Jail as soon as I obtain the ticket.

Before the deadline set for the first broadcast of this program, I called Mr. Gao Zhiyi.
Anchor: Have you received the signed power of attorney?
Gao Zhiyi: Yes, I have.

Anchor: When will you leave for the jail?
Gao Zhiyi: It is hard to say. I am waiting for the tickets I booked.

Anchor: How about your communications with the jail?
Gao Zhiyi: I called them. But they did not answer.

In December 2006, Gao Zhisheng was sentenced to three years in prison with a probation of five years, and deprived of political rights for a year for inciting subversion of the state power. As his five-year probation came to an end at end of 2011, Xinhua News Agency issued a statement saying that the First Intermediary People’s Court of Beijing decided to revoke the probation of Gao Zhisheng and send him back to jail due to his serious violation of probation rules. However, the statement neither mentioned the rules Gao had violated, nor his long-time disappearance which lasted twenty months.

Geng He: Two lawyers, Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui, have agreed to represent the family.

A week has passed since Gao Zhiyi received a notice from the Shaya Jail. I once again interviewed Madam Geng He, Gao’s wife, who fled to America with her daughter and son three years ago.

“We have been calling the jail. But no one answers. Today my brother-in-law received the power of attorney from the law firm signed by Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui. And he will be on his way as soon as he gets the ticket. He booked both air ticket and train ticket. And he will take whichever is available first,” said Geng.

Anchor: Do the lawyers plan to go?
Geng He: I think the lawyers will not go at this time. My brother-in-law will go first with the power of attorney.

A brief introduction of Gao Zhisheng and his case:

The human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was involved in the defense of the oil field case of north Shan’an Xi and the case of Falungong, sent three open letters to the supreme leaders of China calling for the stop of persecutions against Falungong practitioners from December 2004 to December 2005.

In November, 2005, Beijing Shengzhi Law Firm was banned by the department of justice of Beijing.

On December 22, 2006, Gao was sentenced to three years in prison with a probation of five years, and deprived of political rights for one year for inciting subversion of the state power, and later returned home.
In September 2007, Gao Zhisheng was arrested again. His article Dark Night, Dark Hood, and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia surfaced after his release, in which he detailed his torture including toothpicks to his penis.

Gao Zhisheng was awarded Courageous Advocacy by American Board of Trial Advocates.

In the early morning of February 4, 2009, Gao Zhisheng was taken away by the police from his hometown in north Shan’an Xi right in front of his families.

In early 2009, Gao Zhisheng’s wife, daughter and son fled China, and came to the United States as refugees.

After his kidnap, the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, the police and other sauces gave different accounts of his whereabouts. No accurate information was available till March 27, 2010.

On March 28, 2010, the phone number of Gao Zhisheng was posted online. And he could be reached at this number. Ten days later, the number was disconnected. Gao was once again disappeared.

Geng He: The following is the full text of the notice the Shaya Jail sent to Gao Zhiyi. The signature was not Gao Zhisheng’s.

On January 6, 2012, Geng He recounted what happened these days, first detailing the letter and the full text of the notice Gao Zhiyi received from the Shaya Prison.

According to Geng He, the letter was addressed to Gao Zhiyi, Little Shibanqiao Village, Jiahu Town, Jia County, Shan’an Xi Province. And the addresser is Criminal Section, Shaya County, Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region, and the zip code is 842208.

Inside the envelope is a notice on criminal check-in. Control Number: (2011) Xin Sha Xing 0400. Name: Gao Zhisheng. Crime: Inciting subversion of the state power. Sentence type: fixed-term imprisonment. Terms: three years. Sentencing organ: Beijing First Intermediary People’s Court. Check-in date: December 19, 2011. Family Contact: Gao Zhiyi. Relations with the criminal: brother. Home address: Little Shibanqiao Village, Jiahu Town, Jia County, Shan’an Xi Province. Issued by: Tian XX (per Gen He, the signature is illegible). Date of issuance: December 21, 2011. In the middle is a return receipt.

On the right is the notice which is entitled Xingjiang Shaya Jail Criminal Check-In Notice, and numbered 2011 Xing Sha Xing 0400, and states as follows:

Comrade Gao Zhiyi:

You are hereby notified that your brother, Gao Zhisheng, who has been sentenced to three years in prison by Beijing First Intermediary People’s Court for inciting subversion of the state power, was sent to Xinjiang prison to serve his terms (sealed by the Shaya Jail).
The addresser is Criminal Section, P. O. Box 15, Shaya County, Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region.

One column of the notice should contain the signature of Gao Zhisheng. “I saw the signature. It is Gao Zhisheng’s signature. It is not,” said Geng He.

Geng He: How I feel and my letter to Gao Zhisheng

It was on December 31, 2011, when Geng He learned of the information. She shared her feeling at that moment, and how she thought about writing a letter to Gao Zhisheng on the New Year’s Day.

“At the news, I felt heavy-hearted. I thought it was an illusion. And I didn’t know who I was. When my kid talked to me, I just stared at them, and didn’t know what they were talking about. I was so dumbfounded,” recalled Geng He.

“The next day, my friend invited me to attend a New Year party hosted by a church. I went there with my kids. I felt warm-hearted to see people dressed up, singing hymns hand in hand, and shoulder by shoulder, and acting like a big family. Realizing my situation was quite different from what I saw, I felt so numb that I could not be part of the party. And I said to myself, “I need to forget it. I need to join the party.” Though I knew I went there to seek comfort and a spirit home, I just could not join other people. After the hymns, people greeted each other. And kids were playing. I stayed in a corner, and felt that kind of happiness did not belong to me.”

“Therefore, I wrote out my feeling in a letter which represents how I felt.”

Geng He read out the whole letter, and couldn’t help crying.