The Case and Treatment of Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng
Today, the condition of Gao Zhisheng, one of China's most prominent human rights lawyers, remains a closely guarded secret. In December 2011, the Chinese government announced Gao would be required to serve out his earlier three-year criminal sentence, just as his sentence suspension was about to expire. Gao, a self-taught lawyer who angered Chinese authorities by exposing human rights abuses, had been missing for more than 20 months, since "reappearing" from enforced disappearance in March 2010. Chinese officials have not released any news of Gao's health or condition, and Gao's family members and lawyers have been unable to visit him.
The Commission hearing focused on the latest announcement on Gao Zhisheng's criminal imprisonment and addressed concerns over his current well-being. Witnesses, including Gao Zhisheng's wife, addressed Gao's legal defense of marginalized groups in China-including religious practitioners, rural workers and human rights activists-and his enforced disappearance. Other experts addressed ongoing international legal and humanitarian advocacy efforts on behalf of Gao. The hearing also featured testimony from the wife of another prominent jailed dissident, Guo Quan, who is serving a 10-year sentence and who, like Gao, has been punished for his human rights and democracy advocacy.
Ms. Geng He, wife of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng
Ms. Li Jing, wife of democracy advocate Guo Quan
Mr. Jared Genser, Founder of Freedom Now; Managing Director, Perseus Strategies, LLC
Pastor Xiqiu Bob Fu, Founder and President, ChinaAid Association