By BosNewsLife Asia Service

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– One of China’s best known Christian dissidents, missing for over a year and feared dead, is apparently alive and staying in mountains known for Buddhist pilgrimages, BosNewsLife monitored Tuesday, March 30.

Gao Zhisheng told reporters: “I just want to be in peace and quiet for a while and be reunited with my family.”

Speaking by telephone from Wutai Shan, a Buddhist landmark in China’s northern Shanxi province, Gao also said he was “released” six months ago.

However Li Heping, a former legal colleague and friend of Gao Zhisheng, raised doubts about his freedom. Gao reportedly told him in a separate phone call that he had “friends around him”, apparently in reference to police surveillance.

Christian advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA) said Gao also managed to speak by phone with his wife, Geng He, and their two children. The family left China to take up asylum in the United States shortly before Gao’s disappearance on February 4.


Gao is a human rights  lawyer and became known for defending medical malpractice victims and dispossessed landowners. In 2001, the Chinese government reportedly named him one of the country’s top attorneys.

But he ran into trouble with the government after he started defending people accused of being part of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual group as well as underground house churches.

In December 2006, he was sentenced to three years in prison with five year’s reprieve for “inciting subversion”.

Gao disappeared into police custody in February last year while being on reprieve from his 2006 sentence.


Several rights groups and countries have pressed the Chinese government for information regarding the whereaboutsof the Nobel Peace Prize nominee. “There were fears for his safety, as he has been tortured in previous detention,” explained advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

CSW said it was among several groups attending high-level meetings at the European Union and the House of Lords in Britain last week to increase pressure on China to explain Gao’s situation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials have provided very little information about Gao, but have repeatedly said the case is being “handled according to Chinese law”.

CSW’s Advocacy Director Tina Lambert told BosNewsLife in a statement that her group welcomes the news that Gao is alive and that he has been allowed to contact his family. “We now call upon the Chinese government to release him fully and unconditionally and allow him to see his family again.”


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