China (MNN) — Last Monday, August 15, marked the fifth year since Christian lawyer Gao Zhisheng was first kidnapped and tortured by Chinese officials. It has been over a year since his last kidnapping took Gao off the face of the map.
ChinaAid, a Voice of the Martyrs partner, formally petitioned the UN this past Monday to start an investigation into the illegal kidnapping and torture of the disappeared Gao.
The request was filed by the legal counsel of China Aid Association with the United Nations Special Rapporteur of Torture.
Gao first earned the Chinese government's attention in 2005 when he took on "sensitive" cases representing persecuted Christians, groups, and house churches in court. His wife and two young children were placed under communist police surveillance.
On August 15, 2006, Gao was kidnapped by police from the home of his sister, confined, and tortured. Authorities later charged him with inciting subversion or rebellion.
Gao was kidnapped again on September 21, 2007 after writing a detailed report to the U.S. Congress on the Chinese government abuses of human rights. His kidnappers brutally tortured Gao for 50 days before releasing him with a death threat if he spoke of his torture.
However, death threats wouldn't stop Gao. He waited until his family had escaped police surveillance and gained asylum with ChinaAid before publishing an account of his last kidnapping and torture.
A third kidnapping took place in February 2009 following the publishing of his torture account. Gao was released after the international community's outrage gained enough attention.
The last time Gao was heard from was in April 2010 before he was kidnapped again. European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek says he is assuming the worst after reading Gao's previous account of the torture he suffered.
The U.S. State Department has inquired of Chinese officials concerning Gao's whereabouts, and the UN declared Gao's treatment by the Chinese government to be illegal.
In response, the Chinese government blatantly told the UN to "mind its own business," saying this is a matter of internal affair in their country. This is despite the fact that China signed the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights as well as 20 other UN agreements and documents.
ChinaAid's legal counselor, David E. Taylor, states, ""Nonetheless, we believe it is important for the international community to see again how the Chinese Communist Party responds with arrogance and recalcitrance to the UN, and to show the world–especially Gao's family and the Chinese government–that Gao has not been forgotten for even one second, and never will be."
Hopefully, through Gao's bold refusal to back down from supporting the persecuted in the face of threats and trial, other Christians will be bold to stand up for the Gospel and their fellow believers.
Please pray for the UN to pursue investigations of the illegal conduct of the Chinese government towards Gao. Pray that Gao would be found and released and that the Lord would protect him from harm.
Click here to sign the petition for Gao's freedom.