EFC - CHINA: Christian Human Rights Lawyer Arrested and Detained

General es 31/10/06
(Sources: Voice of the Martyrs Canada, China Aid Association)

Gao Zhisheng, a Christian and well known human rights lawyer in China, was arrested by the Chinese secret police without any legal proceeding on August 15, 2006. His wife and two children have been under house arrest ever since. To date, no members of the public have been permitted to see him, including his family and his defence attorney, Mo Shaoping.

The authorities did not confirm Gao’s formal arrest until September 21, 5 weeks after the arrest, when he was formally charged with inciting subversion of state power.

Gao is the director of the well known Beijing-based Shengzhi Law Firm, which has been actively involved in human rights and religious freedom cases. His law firm has been suspended by the Chinese authorities since November, 2005. This closure came shortly after Gao sent an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao urging them to end the widespread detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

In recent years, Gao and his law firm have bravely represented rural rights campaigners and labour activists, and offered legal help for ‘illegal’ Chinese house churches and the spiritual organization, Falun Gong. He has often offered free legal help to citizens bringing cases against local Chinese government branches or officials.

Over a year after China’s Regulations on Religious Affairs came into force, Chinese citizens continue to face harsh religious freedom restrictions. Local officials continue to repress religious activities that they determine to be outside the scope of the state-controlled religious system. Their decisions are often made arbitrarily and in a manner inconsistent with the right to freedom of belief or religion.

PRAY:

* Pray that Gao Zhisheng will be released unharmed.

* Pray for Gao’s family, that they will be sustained spiritually and physically.
* Pray for the Christian believers in China , that they will have courage in the face of persecution.
* Pray for the increasing number of human rights lawyers in China, that their rights will not continue to be violated by the Chinese authorities, and that they will have courage to continue their work

LEARN MORE:
About China
About Human Rights in China

About Religious Freedom in China
From Voice of the Martyrs Canada
From the China Aid Association

From US Commission on International Religious Freedom