NEWS ALERT: Chinese Prominent Christian Attorney Detained

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent

BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News) -- A Chinese Christian human rights lawyer, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Price last year, has been detained by Chinese police but his whereabouts remain unknown, his friend said Monday, February 9.

Attorney Gao Zhisheng was forcibly taken from his hometown in Shaanxi province early in the morning on February 4 by a dozen police officers, said Bob Fu, a former house church pastor and president of advocacy group China Aid Association. He said his whereabouts are unknown.

"We are deeply concerned about Mr. Gao and his family," said Fu, who knows him and his family well. "The international community including the UN Human Rights Council should hold the Chinese government accountable for its brutal persecution against Mr. Gao's family."

He said, "It's time to take these [reports] seriously as China's human rights' record will be examined by the United Nations, today, [Monday, february 9] in Geneva." Gao has been prosecuted by authorities since 2005 after he left the Communist Party.


Gao, who is also Chinese army veteran, has been repeatedly kidnapped, arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities for his work defending underground Christians, advocacy groups claim.

He has defended prominent Pastor Cai Zhouhua and persecuted members of the sect Falun Gong and human rights activists. He, his wife and two children have been monitored "and tormented by authorities for more than two years, and much of their contact with the outside world has been cut off," said China Aid Association.

News about his arrest came as his family also distributed a letter Monday, February 9,  addressed to the international community, which was written on November 28, 2007 at his besieged home in Beijing.

In the translated letter Gao claimed that after sending an open letter to members of the U.S. Congress, he was kidnapped on September 21, 2007 and for more than 50 days was tortured. He was allegedly forced to lie naked on the floor for 13 days and nights while he was tortured with electric shock batons and toothpicks were used to pierce his sexual organs.


He wrote, "The electric shock baton was put all over me. 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. Wang (one of the interrogators) then shocked me in my genitals."

The interrogators allegedly used cigarettes to fill his nose and eyes with smoke for extended periods of time. He said he was told, "You wrote that letter to American Congressmen. Look at you, you traitor. What could you be given by your American lord? The American Congress counts for nothing. This is China. It is the Communist Party's territory. To capture your life is as easy as stepping on an ant."

Chinese authorities have in the past denied torture, saying they are only upholding the law. They have denied reports of religious rights abuses, saying Christians and other groups are free to worship within the country's

Several human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have reported abuses in prisons, besides questioning China's many executions.