Political prisoner in China: Gao Zhisheng

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Gao Zhisheng (1966) has strongly criticised China’s communist regime. As a human rights lawyer, he has defended fellow lawyers and groups facing persecution, such as the Falun Gong and Christians. In December 2005, he resigned from the Communist Party.

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[media:factfile]He has paid a heavy price for his militancy. Gao and his family were placed under constant police guard. Men were posted in the hall right near his front door. At times, they even sat down on one of the beds in his flat.
 
The family was prohibited from using the internet or making phone calls. They were constantly followed. His daughter’s classmates were barred from carrying cell phones to prevent her from making calls. Gao’s lawyer’s office was closed. He was threatened on numerous occasions, detained and tortured.

After four years, Gao’s wife, Geng He, his daughter and young son managed to slip away from police guards. They flew, via Thailand, to the United States, where they currently reside.

A few weeks after they escaped, on 4 February 2009, Gao disappeared without a trace. In March 2010 the Chinese Foreign Minister told his British counterpart that Gao had been sentenced for “subverting state power”.

This week, Gao was traced living in northern China. He had been released six months earlier, but appears to have withdrawn from political activism.

The video was filmed in New York in November 2009.

More on political prisoners:
RNW dossier, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch