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Gao Zhisheng

Gao Zhisheng

HRD, Lawyer
The Guardian Article
2016

Gao Zhisheng: persecuted Chinese lawyer smuggles out book of abuses

AP Article
2015

Leading China lawyer says he was tortured

The Washington Post Article
2014

A Chinese Activist: Out of prison but not free

My road is paved with snares and thorns. It is coloured with the blood and tears of those who have walked before me. It is for the sake of this land called China that we make our way through this ordeal. Ours is a path that leads to Justice and Glory

Gao Zhisheng is a human rights lawyer who regularly took on cases involving persecution of religious minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners and those associated with the unofficial 'house church' movement. For this, and other human rights defence work, Gao Zhisheng has been forcibly disappeared a number of times, and according to media interviews he subsequently gave, brutally tortured. His law practice was shut down in 2005 and the following year he was placed under house arrest having been found guilty of 'inciting subversion of state power'.

In February 2009 while ostensibly free on probation, Gao Zhisheng was taken from a relative's home and was not heard from again until March 2010, when he briefly resurfaced. He disappeared again in late April 2010 and in December of that year, Chinese state media reported that he had been jailed for three years. In August 2014 he was released from prison but since then has remained under extremely tight surveillance and house arrest, cut off from contact with the outside world.

Chinese HRDs face intimidation, harassment, house arrest, abductions, torture and imprisonment. They also work under very restrictive legislation, including laws which criminalize all unauthorized demonstrations and require government sponsorship for NGO registration, which is refused to any organisation touching on human rights issues. Widescale investigations into NGOs with links to overseas organisations took place in 2014 and 2015 resulting in harassment, detentions and forced closures.