One of China’s most prominent human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, is still missing after more than 100 days since he was abducted by Chinese public security officers.
U.S.-based ministries China Aid Association and The Voice of the Martyrs, in response, have launched a video on Sunday, the 102nd day of his disappearance, to expose the torture that Gao experienced in 2007 when he was similarly kidnapped by government officials.
The video is a dramatic re-enactment of Gao’s 2007 prison experience, which he revealed in a letter. His family released his open letter on Feb. 9, 2009, days after his Feb. 4 abduction.
In the letter, Gao recalls horrific torture practices including being forced to lie naked on the floor for 13 days and nights while his whole body was tortured with electric shock batons and toothpicks were used to pierce his sexual organs.
“The electric shock baton was put all over me. And my full body, my heart, lungs and muscles began jumping under my skin uncontrollably. I was writhing on the ground in pain, trying to crawl away. Wang (one of the interrogators) then shocked me in my genitals,” Gao wrote.
Interrogators also reportedly used cigarettes to fill his nose and eyes with smoke for extended periods of time.
Gao was imprisoned in 2007 after he wrote an open letter to the U.S. Congress asserting widespread human rights abuses in China, including the persecution of house church Christians. He was then kidnapped and held for over 50 days during which time he experience extreme forms of torture.
Rights groups believe that Gao is likely being tortured again as he is presently being held by the Chinese authorities.
U.S. senators and rights groups have appealed for Gao’s release or for information about his whereabouts. But the Chinese government has refused to disclose any information on the location or the condition of the rights lawyer.
A bipartisan group of senators – Sen. Bryon Dorgan (D-N.D.), who is chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China; Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.); Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.); and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) – had sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao on May 14, the 99th day of Gao’s disappearance.
In the letter, the senators called on the Chinese government to release Gao. They noted that Gao was voted “one of China’s top ten lawyers” in 2001 by a Chinese Ministry of Justice publication.
“Mr. Gao’s disappearance appears to be a violation of both Chinese and international law,” the U.S. Senators wrote. “We urge your government to inform the concerned public of his whereabouts, to guarantee Mr. Gao’s right to be free from arbitrary detention, and to secure his release.”
Gao was formerly a Chinese Communist Party member and a Chinese army veteran. Now he is one of the country’s most prominent and outspoken Christian human rights attorneys. He is heavily involved in defending underground Christians, but he also defends other persecuted minorities such as practitioners of Falun Gong, as well as human rights activists and writers.
His wife and two children, including a 5-year-old son, successfully escaped to the United States in March with the help of China Aid Association. Both his children have been harassed by public security officials and are reportedly traumatized by the persecution experience. His wife, Geng He, and his children have been anxiously awaiting news about Gao as they stay in the United States.
On the Web: www.freegao.com