Detained Since: August 13, 2017.
Charges: No official charges.
Sentence: No official sentence.
Biography: Gao Zhisheng is one of the most respected human rights lawyers in China. He has defended activists and religious minorities and documented human rights abuses in China. This award-winning lawyer has handled a number of high-profile human rights cases, including those of Christians in Xinjiang and Falun Gong practitioners. In August 2006, after numerous death threats and continued harassment, Gao disappeared. In 2006, Gao was convicted of “subversion,” and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was incarcerated in December 2011 for allegedly violating the conditions of his suspended three-year sentence. Gao was released from prison on August 7, 2014, was kept under house arrest until August 2017, and is now reportedly being held in custody with no contact with the outside world.
Past Advocate: Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA, Ret.)
Advocacy Partner: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
Zhisheng has released a book titled "Year 2017, Stand up China - A Narration by Geo Zhisheng, a Human Rights Lawyer Under Torture", documenting torture during his imprisonment while also predicting the fall of the Communist Regime in 2017 (June 24, 2016, Epoch Times).
In August, 2017, Gao Zhisheng went missing from his house arrest; in November, reports surfaced that Gao is being held in secret police custody in Shaanxi province, in a darkened room with no access to the outside (November 12, 2017, Radio Free Asia).
Gao Zhisheng's wife Geng He, spoke to RFA's Mandarin Service about her husband's renewed disappearance (August 24, 2018, Radio Free Asia)
Gao Zhisheng has been awarded the Shahbaz Bhatti Freedom Award. The prize is granted by the First Step Forum, a Finland-based international NGO that monitors religious and human rights abuses worldwide, and is named after Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s first federal minister of minorities affairs, who was assassinated on March 2, 2011 (August 29, 2018, the Epoch Times).
At the 37th EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, EU officials raised the case of Gao Zhisheng with their Chinese counterparts (April 2, 2019, European Union External Action).
Amnesty International has raised concerns over the possible torture and mistreatment of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was forcibly disappeared nearly two years ago (April 17, 2019, Radio Free Asia).