Chinese Christian Human Rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng's confirmed location has now been made public.
For the first time since he disappeared nearly two years ago, a U.S.-based Chinese human rights group can confirm where Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng is located.
U.S.-based Chinese Human Rights group China Aid came upon Gao's location. Yesterday, the group learned that Gao is being held at Shaya Prison in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Western China. On Dec. 19 of last year, the official notification of Zhisheng's prison stay was signed and dated.China Aid is a partner of the Voice of the Martyrs USA organization.
According to China Aid, Chinese authorities took Gao into custody again on April 2010. This is the most recent arrest for Gao since his 2006 conviction on a subversion charge.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide's (CSW) website, the Chinese State Media reported Gao's prison sentence on Dec. 16, 2010. His sentence stems from a prior 2006 probationary sentence, where he was given three years imprisonment and five years probation for "subversion of state power."
Many were concerned about Gao's safety, since some believed he was undergoing torture sessions since he went missing. Due to the fears and concerns over their safety, his wife and two children fled from China. They now reside in the U.S.
Gao's brother in China and his wife in the U.S were not yet informed about his return to prison at the time.
China Aid founder and President Bob Fu gave a statement on his personal friend, Gao Zhisheng. "Gao's internal exile reminds the world of how former Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov was cruelly treated in Siberia in the 1980s," he stated.
"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," he added.
Gao is a prominent self-taught lawyer, who was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Ministry of Justice also named him one of China’s "Top Ten Lawyers."
Because he defended cases of religious persecution, including house church leaders and Falun Gong practitioners, Gao eventually attracted the attention of local authorities. In 2007, he penned an open letter to the U.S. Congress that highlighted the use of torture by Chinese authorities.
Gao's first public disappearance occurred on Feb. 4, 2009. Following a brief reappearance in March 2010, he went missing again on April 20, 2010, during a trip to Beijing after visiting relatives in Xinjiang province.
Gao had been reported as being the subject of severe torture in detention ever since he had gone missing.