Gao last seen with his family in January 2009. (Photo courtesy of China Aid Association)
China (MNN) ― Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has disappeared yet again, Voice of the Martyrs-Canada reports.
Gao went missing on February 4, 2009 when Chinese officials seized him from his home in Shaanxi province. He was not heard from again until he was allowed to call family members and colleagues at the end of March.
On April 6, Gao told China Aid Association's Bob Fu that he had been permitted to return to his apartment in Beijing. Fu reported that Gao sounded weak and claimed to be recovering from a wracking cough.
According to witnesses, Gao left his Beijing apartment sometime between April 9 and 12. He then arrived at the home of his in-laws in Urumqi with an escort of four police officers, who took him away after one night. On April 20, Gao spoke with his father-in-law on the phone shortly before boarding a flight back to Beijing. He has not been heard from since.
Fu confirms that Gao is "definitely in the hands of Chinese security forces." He has concluded that international pressure compelled Chinese authorities to prove that Gao was alive before detaining him again so he would not reveal any information about his disappearance.
On April 7, Gao told reporters he had chosen to reunite with his wife and children rather than continuing his legal activism on behalf of Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, and other people living under oppression. Fu said the decision was understandable.
"Gao Zhisheng is a man of integrity and heart. Facing such enormous pressure and knowing that his family needs him, he has chosen to fulfill his duty as a father to his children, and husband to his wife," Fu explained. "Gao Zhisheng and his family have suffered deeply from the long separation. Despite the persecution, he continues to trust the Lord."
Pray for physical and spiritual protection for Gao, as he likely faces more torture. Pray that his persecutors will believe the Gospel. To sign a petition for Gao's release, go to www.freegao.com.