Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Missing Christian lawyer found

(Photo courtesy China Aid)

China (CAA/MNN) -- For the first time since he disappeared nearly two years ago, a U.S.-based Chinese human rights group can confirm the wherabouts of Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

ChinaAid, a partner of The Voice of the Martyrs USA,learned January 1 that Gao is being held at Shaya Prison in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, western China. The notification was signed and dated on Dec. 19 by the prison.

According to ChinaAid, police took Gao into custody again on April 2010, the most recent arrest since a 2006 conviction on a subversion charge.

Then, on December 16, shortly before his five-year probation period was to have ended, the Chinese government sentenced him to three more years for violating his probation. The good news was that Gao was still alive, but the bad news was they still didn't know where he was or if he was healthy.   

Gao is best known for defending cases of religious persecution, including house church leaders and members of Falun Gong.

ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu says of his friend, "Gao's internal exile reminds the world of how former Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov was cruelly treated in Siberia in the 1980s."

Fu goes on to say that "the Chinese government can use this remote jail to prevent concerned people from visiting Attorney Gao, but just like Sakharov, Gao's courageous voice can never be silenced by the four walls of his prison cell."

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