He has been called the “bravest lawyer in China,” but the “disappeared” Gao Zhisheng’s whereabouts are unknown and his advocates worry for his life. Now they call on the U.S. government to exercise pressure on Beijing for his release.
The Daily Caller reported that Gao’s allies insist that Washington has a duty to confront the Chinese Communist Party over his fate.
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Andrew Bremberg said the White House and Congress could launch public campaigns on his behalf. Some businesses have taken stands on Beijing’s human rights abuses, but too few to produce results.
What is needed, Bremberg said, “is to get the U.S. government pushing in that direction.”
Gao’s odyssey began when he wrote three open letters to the Chinese government in 2005 defending tortured Falun Gong, religious followers. This led to his law firm being shuttered and him being under constant state surveillance.
Gao remains missing
— Philip Lenczycki 蔡岳 (@LenczyckiPhilip) April 1, 2023
His grace under constant fire from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize numerous times.
The nominations, however, did not deter the will of Beijing’s authoritarians. Gao was sentenced to three years in prison and forcibly disappeared for the first time in 2007.
His supporters report that he was frequently tortured over the next decade. They explained to the Daily Caller that the situation has gotten worse, and now his whereabouts are unknown. It was August 13, 2017, when the last hammer fell on Gao’s freedom.
That was the day, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, that Gao was kidnapped by CCP agents. Yet again, he is being held by the state and there is no word on his condition or even location.
As Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) observed, the attorney has “suffered like almost no one I could ever imagine has suffered anywhere.”
Pastor Bob Fu, president of the Christian nonprofit ChinaAid, told the Daily Caller that to his knowledge, President Joe Biden has never uttered Goa’s name “in private or in public.” He also noted that he does not believe one prisoner of conscience’s name has been uttered in any summits.
This is no way, Fu said, to advance the cause of human rights. What would be encouraging is for the Biden White House and, much more likely, more members of Congress to take up Gao’s mantle and work towards his release.