— For the first time since he disappeared nearly two years ago, a U.S.-based
Chinese human rights group can confirm the wherabouts of Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.
partner of The Voice of the Martyrs USA, learned January 1 that Gao is being held
at Shaya Prison in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, western China. The notification was signed and dated on Dec.
19 by the prison.
ChinaAid, police took Gao into custody again on April 2010, the most recent
arrest since a 2006 conviction on a subversion charge.
December 16, shortly before his five-year probation period was to have ended, the
Chinese government sentenced him to three more years for violating his
probation. The good news was that Gao was still alive, but the bad news was they still didn't know where
he was or if he was healthy.
Gao is best
known for defending cases of religious persecution, including house church
leaders and members of Falun Gong.
founder and president Bob Fu says of his friend, "Gao's internal exile
reminds the world of how former Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov was cruelly treated
in Siberia in the 1980s."
Fu goes on to
say that "the Chinese government can use this remote jail to prevent
concerned people from visiting Attorney Gao, but just like Sakharov, Gao's
courageous voice can never be silenced by the four walls of his prison