U.S. Group Launches Petition to Free Chinese Lawyer

A Christian religious freedom organization has launched an online petition to free China's most famous lawyer, the group announced Thursday.

Texas-based China Aid Association urges the international community to take action on behalf of Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng by signing a petition to the Chinese government to release him.

Zhisheng was last seen in Feb. 4 when he was hauled away by a dozen police officers. His family and friends fear that he is facing severe torture, especially since it was made known his wife and two children have escaped to the United States.

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Bob Fu, president of China Aid, has described Gao's past torture experiences as "the most severe persecution in China's modern history."

In 2007, Gao was kidnapped by the government and suffered unimaginable forms of torture at the hands of Chinese authorities. Some of the torture methods included electric shocks and toothpicks used to pierce his body, including his sexual organs, Gao revealed in an open letter released in February 2009.

Gao is a special target of the Chinese government because he has reached out to the U.S. Congress to expose China's human rights violations. He is well-known for defending underground Christians, persecuted Falun Gong members, and human rights activists.

His family, who were also being persecuted, was able to escape safely to the United States earlier in March. China Aid, which helped coordinate the family's escape, said they are deeply concerned about Gao's well-being.

Reports inside China, according to China Aid, indicate Gao is being brutally tortured.

So far, 41,392 emails have been sent to the Chinese government and media sources. Out of that number, 14,616 people have signed the petition.

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