January 15, 2010
Pray for the World's Most Missing Christian: Gao Zhisheng
Nearly one year ago in China, security officials took Gao Zhisheng, one of the nation's most prominent human rights lawyers and an active church leader, into custody. For months, his family and supporters have been demanding that government officials disclose his whereabouts.
But now, there are credible reports that Gao is "missing" and the government pleads ignorance about where he might be. As Christians, of course, prayer is always a good idea. But consider signing an online petition as 124,313 others have done: Click here for the petition details. The petition demands that the government of China account for Gao's treatment and release him immediately.
(Photo: Gao shows injuries from a police beating in 2006.)
China Aid has posted this update:
Since mid-December, 2009, ominous rumors have circulated about Gao Zhisheng, hinting that he has died after brutal torture in prison. However, no reports have been confirmed, and the Chinese government continues to refuse comment on his condition and whereabouts. A friend of ChinaAid in New York recently notified us about a serious development with Gao's daughter, Gege. Gege had been reportedly “pale and tired-looking” for months, fearing her father would be killed in prison. After hearing a rumor of Gao’s death just before Christmas, Gege became so emotionally distraught, she was forced to be hospitalized. She remains fragile and under medical care in a New York hospital. On Thursday, January 14th, Gao's brother Zhiyi said he had gone to Beijing searching out the policeman who originally detained Gao Zhisheng back in February, 2009.
The policeman told him that Attorney Gao allegedly “got lost and went missing while out on a walk” on September 25, 2009. Gao’s wife has refused to comment, but was reported to be extremely upset when she heard the news. This is the first time a Chinese government official has hinted that they no longer have Gao Zhisheng in their custody, leading ChinaAid to believe Gao’s condition has taken a turn for the worse. “It is totally unacceptable for the Chinese government to lose track of their own prisoner,” said President of ChinaAid Bob Fu. “It is absolutely clear that he was forcibly taken from his home in February 2009. Nearly a year later, the Chinese government now says they do not have him.” Gao Zhisheng was last heard from via a phone call to Gao Zhiyi in early September, 2009. He was able to say "I'm ok" before the line went dead.
If you are inside China and have other details, email me here.