Chinese Christian Lawyer “Held Hostage” for 50 Days
3/26/09 China (BosNewsLife) Abducted Chinese Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng was missing 50 days on Thursday, March 26, amid “increasing concern for his life,” human rights investigator said.
“He was last seen being hauled away from his home by more than a dozen police officers on February 4,” said China Aid Association (CAA), a Christian advocacy group investigating the case.
“Reports from inside China indicate he is undergoing brutal torture,” and behing held as “a hostage” CAA said. China’s government has denied human rights abuses, but officials have not explained the whereabouts of the lawyer.
Yet, “The situation is critical, and with each day that passes, Gao Zhisheng’s life hangs
in the balance,” CAA told BosNewsLife in a statement. “Gao’s torture is the most severe persecution in China’s modern history,” said CAA President Bob Fu, a former house church pastor.
The group linked his detention to Gao’s work defending house church Christians and others “persecuted in China”.
Gao’s wife and two children, who CAA said were also abused “and tormented” by police, escaped to the United States earlier this month. “His family is afraid that authorities, furious at their escape, are taking revenge on Gao,” CAA said.
The organization said that it has asked supporters to sign a petition to free Gao. CAA and rights group Voice of the Martyrs opened a Web site http://www.FreeGao.com for this purpose.
Gao’s detention comes amid concerns of reports about a crackdown on Christians worshiping outside the communist-government backed churches. Officials have reportedly expressed outrage over the spread of Christianity in China, which they view as challenging the Communist Party’s ideology.
There are some 130 million Chinese Christians, the largest and fastest growing Christian group in the world, according to some estimates provided by Chinese officials.