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Gao Zhisheng in Jail after Disappearance PDF Print E-mail
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High-profile Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, held by the Chinese communist regime in secret almost continually since late 2006, has been officially sentenced to jail 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 his treatment and whereabouts.

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 were persecuted by the Communist Party.

The sentence was apparently suspended for a five year probationary period, and those five years 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 organization 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 with The Epoch Times. “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.

Laughable Pretext

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, 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.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2012 12:11


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