The latest news about Gao is good, but we still need to keep praying so that he can be reunited with his wife and children.
This is the latest information on Gao from our friends at China Aid. Full press release can be read here.March 29, 2010:
Updated 6:30 PM CST
SHANXI--On Sunday, March 28, 2010, missing human rights lawyer Gao
Zhisheng spoke to his wife and children for the first time in over a
year, confirming he is still alive. False rumors of his death, torture,
and escape from the custody of the Chinese Government have shrouded
Gao's absence with mystery. Gao's brief phone conversations with western
media on Sunday mark the first official contact the public has had with
him since his abduction by police on February 4, 2009.
the phone, Gao informed AP and Reuters reporters that he had been
released from detention six months ago, and had taken up residence at
Wutai Shan mountain, a Buddhist landmark in northern Shanxi province. He
refused to give details on his condition, saying he could not legally
Close friend and fellow human rights lawyer
Li Heping also confirmed he had spoken with Gao on Sunday. "It's
certainly him. I spoke to him over the phone. I could tell from the way
he spoke and the way he spoke to me that it's him." When Li asked to
visit, Gao refused to give him details on his whereabouts, saying he had
"friends around him"--indicating he was being held under close
surveillance by Chinese authorities.
Gao's wife Geng He and
two children were overwhelmed with emotion and relief as they spoke with
him on Sunday morning. Tthe children could not stop crying. Earlier
today, Geng He released a statement, appealing to the Chinese Government
to allow Gao Zhisheng to reunite with his family in the United States.
According to reliable sources, the pressure on Geng He and the family
has increased during Gao's absence. Reports indicate Geng He's parents
have been severely harassed in recent months, due to their relationship
to son-in-law Gao Zhisheng.
Gao has felt guilty for the
backlash friends and family. He told the Associated Press, "I just want
to be in peace and quiet for a while and be reunited with my family.
Most people belong with family. I have not been with mine for a long
time. This is a mistake and I want to correct this mistake."
President Bob Fu confirmed the reports. "After examining Gao's voice in
the interview, I too am convinced that it is Gao." ChinaAid has waged
an international campaign to Free Gao for more than a year, circulating
petitions and calling on the international community to raise awareness
for Gao's cause. Last week, prominent human rights attorney Dr. Li
Baiguang joined President Fu in meeting with high-ranking members of the
British and European Parliaments in London and Brussels, calling
awareness to Gao's cause. (See
) They met with seven members of the Northern Ireland
Assembly in Belfast today, including First Minister Mr. Peter Robinson,
who expressed particular concern for Gao Zhisheng.
thankful for the assurance that Gao is alive and praise the more than
124,000 supporters in over 180 countries around the world who have
signed the petition, and have not allowed him to be forgotten," said Mr.
Fu. "Due to the international pressure levied by these faithful
supporters, the Chinese Government has been forced to respond and to
allow Gao Zhisheng to reconnect with his loved ones."
further warned that the recent contact with Gao is only the beginning.
"Yesterday's events happened as a result of international pressure. But
Gao is not free yet. His movements are still being watched and
monitored. He is not free to speak publicly or without surveillance."
Zhisheng is entitled to be free, according Chinese law, if he is not
found in violation of laws during the probationary period. And according
to international norms, he has the right to travel overseas to reunite
with his family, if he has not violated his probation. As a defender and
protector of the law, Gao Zhisheng has upheld his end. We must continue
to press the Chinese government to free Gao Zhisheng and uncensor his
movements, according to the law, and to allow him to reunite with his