Wife of Missing Chinese Christian Lawyer Uses His Birthday to Call for Release
04/17/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – April 20 will mark the 55th birthday of Chinese Christian lawyer Gao Zhisheng. Yet he will again celebrate his birthday incarcerated somewhere in China, separated from his family and friends.
The famous human rights lawyer, reputed as “China’s conscience,” was forcibly disappeared nearly two years ago, after human rights activists had rescued him from his house arrest in Shaanxi. For 23 days, he hid in a house in Jiexiu city in neighboring province, until Shaanxi police mobilized a large number of officers to cross the border and recapture him. While the activists were released after their brief detention, Gao’s whereabouts remain unknown today.
Geng He, Gao’s wife who fled to the U.S. with their two children after Gao’s earlier disappearance in 2009, confirmed that she still does not know where he is.
“Since Gao Zhisheng was forcibly disappeared, the authorities have never informed his family where he is being held, neither have they provided an official document notifying them of his detention, or anything like it, let alone allowed his family to visit him,” Geng told RFA ahead of Gao’s birthday on April 20.
On April 15, human rights group Amnesty International (AI) sent an open letter to Chinese Minister of Public Security, Zhao Kezhi, to call on China to “immediately and unconditionally release Gao Zhisheng if he has been detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.”
AI also demanded the Ministry to disclose Gao’s whereabouts, ensure that he is
not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment; and he has regular, unrestricted access to his family, lawyers of his choice, and medical care on request or as necessary.
While Gao’s actual birthday is on April 20, Geng usually celebrates it on the same day as their daughter’s birthday, April 17.
“This year, the theme of his birthday is wanting him to come home,” she said.
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