By BosNewsLife Asia Service with BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Family members and other Chinese Christians say they remain concerned over the whereabouts of a prominent Christian human rights lawyer, several days after his probationary sentence was supposed to end.
Gao Zhisheng’s 2006 probationary sentence for “subversion of state power” expired August 14, but he has not been heard from for almost 18 months, confirmed his family.
His oldest brother, Gao Zhiyi, told Reuters news agency that he has issued missing person notices pleading for information about his brother, photos of which have circulated on the Internet with the help of sympathizers.
Gao is among China’s most prominent dissidents and his case was expected to be among the human rights issues raised by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who arrived in China Wednesday, August 17.
Gao Zhisheng was sentenced three years’ imprisonment and five years’ probation in 2006. His brother said he believes the rights activist remains in extra-judicial attention.
SETBACK FOR WIFE
It came as a setback for his wife who wrote in a distributed letter that she hoped for his quick release. “This August 14 is the last day of the probation period and should be the date when you regain freedom. I am looking forward to this day and to hearing your voice and to our family being reunited. The whole family looks forward to this day!”, she wrote.
The prominent self-taught lawyer, twice-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, first went missing on 4 February 2009, according to rights activists and Chinese Christians.
After a brief reappearance in March 2010, Gao went missing again on April 20 as he travelled home to Beijing after visiting relatives in Xinjiang province.
He claimed to have been subjected to severe torture in detention. Advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) which closely monitored the case told BosNewsLife that “there are grave concerns for his health and wellbeing. Gao’s wife and two children fled from China and are now living as political asylees in the US.”
Gao, who was once named one of China’s Top Ten Lawyers by the Ministry of Justice, attracted attention from authorities for defending cases of religious persecution, including house church leaders and Falun Gong practitioners.
In 2007 he wrote an open letter to US Congress highlighting the alleged use of torture by Chinese authorities.
The request for Gao’s release comes as other prominent Chinese human rights defenders are under pressure, CSW said.
“Blind human rights lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, is being held with his wife and six-year-old daughter in severe conditions under house arrest in Shandong province. Christian leaders are also under pressure. Pastor Shi Enhao, Deputy Chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance, is beginning a two-year re-education through labour sentence for ‘holding illegal religious meetings’,” the Britain-based group explained.
UNDER HOUSE ARREST
In Beijing, Fan Yafeng, leader of the Chinese Christian Human Rights Lawyers Association whose members are renowned for taking on human rights and religious freedom cases, is also under house arrest and subject to “constant police harassment,” according to CSW investigators.
“CSW calls upon the Chinese government to release Gao Zhisheng at the end of his probationary period. Gao’s life and work continues to be an inspiration to many around the world who speak out against injustice,” said CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas in a statement to BosNewsLife.
“His disappearance has lasted too long and represents a grave denial of rights to a Chinese citizen. CSW calls upon the Chinese government to release Gao Zhisheng and all those under house arrest in China for daring to speak up for injustice.”
Chinese Christians say the alleged crackdown is part of a wider effort to halt religious and other groups operating outside state approved institutions and churches.
China’s Communist government has denied wrongdoing, saying it respects religious freedom within the laws of the land. It says Christians are free to worship within the state-backed Catholic and Protestant denominations.
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Over four years ago, America suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history, caused by a terrorist group largely known as al Qaeda. About a month after the attack, it was first reported that Communist China bought unexploded American cruise missiles from al Qaeda in order to “reverse engineer” them, i.e., use them to advance its own cruise missile capabilities. That report was just confirmed on Nov. 29. The subsequent silence from mainstream media has been deafening. What gives here? For over four years, as the democratic world has fought the War on Terror, Communist China has managed to stay out of sight and out of mind, despite the information above and immediately below. Even the pro-democracy, anti-Communist movement has largely been quiet on this. This remains a terrible and dangerous mistake. For those new to this topic, what follows is a quick synopsis of Communist China’s actions regarding al Qaeda and the Taliban. 1998: After the American cruise missile attack on al Qaeda, Communist China pays up to $10 million to al Qaeda for unexploded American cruise missiles. 1999: A book by two Communist Chinese colonels presents a battle scenario in which the World Trade Center is attacked. The authors recommend Osama bin Laden by name as someone with the ability to orchestrate the attack. September 11, 2001 (yes, that date is correct): Communist China signs a pact on economic cooperation with the Taliban. Just after September 11, 2001: The Communist press agency makes a video “glorifying the strikes as a humbling blow against an arrogant nation.” Also after September 11, 2001: According to Willy Lam (CNN), the Communist leadership considers al Qaeda to be “a check on U.S. power,” and only decides to back away from it after deciding that “now is not the time to take on the United States.” Also after September 11, 2001: As Pakistan mulls a request from the United States to allow its troops to be based there for operations against the Taliban, Communist China—a 50-year Pakistan ally—announces it would “oppose allowing foreign troops in Pakistan.” Also after September 11, 2001: U.S. intelligence finds the Communist Chinese military’s favorite technology firm—Huawei Technologies—building a telephone network in Kabul, the Afghan capital. November 2001: As U.S. Special Forces and local anti-Taliban Afghans are liberating Afghanistan, Communist China, through public statements and behind-the-scenes actions, tries to prevent what it calls “a pro-American regime” in Kabul. 2002: Raids of al Qaeda hideouts by U.S. Special Forces and allies net large caches of weapons from Communist China, including surface-to-air missiles. This comes weeks after the U.S. government warns that al Qaeda terrorists in the U.S. would try to use said missiles to take down American planes. April 2002: Then-Communist Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, while visiting Iran, rips the U.S. military presence in Central Asia. Late summer 2002: Almost a year after Afghanistan’s liberation, a three-man delegation from the Taliban—led by Ustad Khalil, purported to be Mullah Omar’s right-hand man—spends a week in Communist China meeting with cadres, at their invitation. August 2002: Intelligence from the post-Taliban Afghan government reveals that Communist China has turned a part of Pakistan deemed under its control (most likely “Aksai Chin,” the piece of disputed Kashmir that Pakistan gave to its longtime ally in the 1960s) into a safe haven for al Qaeda. May 2004: Media reports expose how the Communist Chinese intelligence service used some of its front companies in financial markets around the world to help al Qaeda raise and launder money for its operations. Yet Communist China continues to claim that it is our friend in the War on Terror, and foolish supporters of “engagement” continue to believe it. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not merely al Qaeda that has received Communist support (for more on Communist China’s extensive ties to terrorists, check out my book on the subject), but given the nearly universal acceptance of al Qaeda as an enemy of the democratic world, one would think that the above information would be enough for a serious and thorough reexamination of our relations with the Communists. After all, Communist China’s reasons for supporting anti-American terrorists are not difficult to ascertain. The U.S. is the main obstacle to the Communists’ plans for conquering Taiwan, replacing Japan as the lead power in Asia, and replacing the U.S. as the lead world power. If Communist China fails in any of these, its reliance on radical nationalism—the regime’s raison d’etre since the Tiananmen Square massacre—will backfire badly. Thus, the Chinese Communist Party sees the United States as the chief threat to its power, and its survival. Yet President Bush has not once demanded that Communist China end its support for al Qaeda—indeed, he has not even acknowledged the existence of that support. Sadly, he is not alone. In fact, those of us who insist on spreading the word about this are in the distinct minority. If we are to win the War on Terror, this must change. The War on Terror is, in fact, part of the Second Cold War—the cold war between Communist China and the democratic world. As such, the War on Terror can not and will not be won unless the free world sees the Chinese Communist Party for what it really is: an enemy. The road to victory in the War on Terror ends not in Kabul, Baghdad, Tehran, or Damascus, but in Beijing. America and her allies will never be secure until China is free. D.J. McGuire is President and Co-Founder of the China e-Lobby, and the author of Dragon in the Dark: How and Why Communist China Helps Our Enemies in the War on Terror. http://www.homelandsecurityus.net/al%20qaedas%20link%20to%20other%20countries/al_qaeda%20china%20tie.htm http://rideriantieconomicwarfaretrisiii.blogspot.com/