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Fearless: Chinese Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s Letter to the World
By James Burke
Prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng is one of the bravest men on the planet.
Yes that’s a big call but this is one Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has been to hell and back and it hasn’t broken his spirit. And now Gao wants to say what happened.
There’s not enough room on this page for me to go through what this man has had to endure over the past nine or so years, plus I’d prefer not to get in the way of you reading his letter which is further below.
What I will write is just to help you put his letter, which was written on September 12, into context and assist you to understand what the 51-year-old lawyer is referring to. Some background of sorts.
Described as the ‘conscience of China’, Gao was well known for helping Chinese Christians and any citizen petitioners who had genuine grievances against the state.
But the main reason why Gao was targeted by the communist authorities was his unyielding defense of practitioners of the persecuted Falun Gong meditation practice.
Gao himself is a Christian.
In his recent letter below Gao refers to three open letters that he wrote years ago to Communist Party leaders calling on them to end the persecution, detailing awful cases of torture used against Falun Gong practitioners. He also wrote an open letter to the U.S. Congress and publicly announced his membership withdrawal from the Chinese Communist Party in 2005.
After years of harassment, which included the authorities closing down his law business, Gao was disappeared by state security and later imprisoned for “inciting subversion of state power.” In prison he endured years of solitary confinement, maltreatment and bouts of torture.
In 2009 his wife and two children fled China and they now live in the U.S.
Just over a year ago, Gao was released from jail a shell of a man and he was* being held under house arrest in Shaanxi province, north-western China.
The following is his translated letter which was published by the Epoch Times.
*Editor’s note: It has just been learnt that Chinese authorities have once again disappeared Gao after the letter below was first published (September 22) and after the Associated Press published (September 23) an interview they recorded with him in March.
Gao Zhisheng’s Letter
Yesterday, when I was looking through the old cabinet my mother left, I came across the bookLawyer Gao Zhisheng’s Collected Works. I sat down and read in one sitting the three letters I wrote to the Chinese communist bandit leaders. Only after having gone through the same torturous experience myself do I now know how catastrophic, deeply disturbing, and shocking it is.
Wei Xiuling, a Falun Gong practitioner from Shandong Province, was “killed,” resuscitated, and then finally killed again. Reading her story again, the misery is simply suffocating. Reading how her lower half was naked when she died, I start quaking again in my heart. Or the story of how when Liu Boyang and his mother Wang Shouhui from Changchun were both tortured to death, they could hear each other’s blood-curdling cries.
It’s been a decade since I wrote these investigation notes, but the murderers are still “leading comrades,” still strutting around with their heads high and their bellies out, long having forgotten about the bloody debt that will follow them forever. This is the achievement of China Central Television, Global Times, Liberation Army Daily, and other wicked media have wrought, going about their shameful work numbing the Chinese people. The words I wrote to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao in the end failed to awaken the numbed souls of this world, and the sinister regime continues its crafty, evil conduct, the same as it always has.
Right around me there are still shameless agents of the regime, hanging about day and night, earnestly carrying out the wishes of their master of forever keeping China in a dark, intoxicating dream. This is what United Nations General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon, who attended the Party’s military parade recently, doesn’t see, and doesn’t want to see.
Ban Ki-moon, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and Korean leader Park Geun-hye are like visitors from other planets, turning a deaf ear to the human rights disaster in China going on around them. They don’t react in the least when the thugs who invited them carry out a brutal crackdown on expression, thought, freedom of belief, or when they thwart constitutional development, education reform, health reform, judicial independence, or derail attempts to spread universal civilized values. Their numbness to all this should be exposed.
This is all a disgrace to the civilized world.
The dark, criminal elements of the Communist Party have sprung forth again around China, disappearing, torturing, and extracting confessions from hundreds of human rights lawyers. The campaign is another open crime against humanity, another evil for the historical record, just like the Tiananmen June 4 massacre, or the persecution of Falun Gong, or the brutal, continuous practice of demolishing the homes of ordinary people and evicting them.
This is all a disgrace to the civilized world. I don’t know what Ban Ki-moon is thinking inside when he does business with these people who blatantly commit crimes against humanity. During the military parade of this gang of bandits, petitioners and dissidents around the country were suppressed and put under strict control; restaurants in Beijing demanded to see their diners’ identification cards; 10 days before the parade, the post office ceased all package deliveries. All of this was done to make a Potemkin Village for the likes of Ban Ki-moon, to give the gang of scoundrels with guilty consciences a chance to congratulate each other.
I can now make public that in mid-August I successfully delivered overseas two manuscripts: One is titled China Stands Up in 2017; the other is not yet named—both will be available within a year. There is much worth reading in those books, so I won’t say more about them today.
I want to solemnly assure you all that all the crimes against humanity taking place in China today will without exception be judged. At the end of 2017, a special tribunal will be set up for this—the details of this are described in the forthcoming books.
After reading the three open letters, I felt the natural urge to pen the above notes to memorialize the noble martyrs who have passed away—they’re the glory and the last energy of our nation, evidence that our people still have promise and grandeur. Commemorating their lives is proof that our consciences have not been entirely destroyed.
Gao Zhisheng, September 12, 2015
For more details about lawyer Gao and how he has been persecuted by the communist state see this video featuring former Canadian politician David Kilgour: