News / Asia

China Releases Prominent Dissident Lawyer

FILE - Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese human rights lawyer.
FILE - Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese human rights lawyer.
Natalie Liu

Well known Chinese lawyer and activist Gao Zhisheng has been released from prison after three years, but appears to be under close supervision by authorities.

Jared Genser, Gao Zhisheng’s lawyer, said in an interview with VOA’s Mandarin service that he wants to see if Gao can come to the United States and reunite with his wife, son, and daughter on the U.S. west coast.

"His family is desperate to be reunited with him, and he has suffered so much for so many years, and he's really such a champion for so many dissidents in China who have suffered under oppression, and standing up in solidarity for them as a human rights lawyer," he said.

Gao, who has defended Christians and miners during his career as a lawyer, was given a three-year suspended sentence for subversion in 2006. After disappearing into police custody for most of 2009, he was sent to prison in 2011 for allegedly violating the terms of his probation.

One of his brothers said in an interview with VOA's Mandarin service that Gao is currently at his father-in-law's home in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang.

His wife, Geng He, said when she talked to her husband on the telephone Thursday, it sounded as if there were "minders" in the room with him. She added that he was having problems with his teeth, although otherwise he reported being in good shape.

Genser says Gao's family has been protected by the U.S. government, and he would like the same thing for Gao. He said he has contacted members of Congress and related government departments about Gao’s case.
 
Yang Jianli, the founder of a U.S.-based group called Civil Force, which focuses on Chinese human rights, told VOA there are a large number of issues that have not been resolved in Gao’s case. He added that Gao has suffered more serious torture than many other Chinese dissidents.

"It appears that he has not been sentenced for a felony, with only three years of prison. But he got another five years of probation, which means he has lost freedom for eight years total, and during that time, he has disappeared twice," he said. "Nobody knows where he was. Moreover, he wrote letters that described the torture during his sentence.”

Yang said the torture Gao suffered in jail cannot be imagined by other people. He said even though he himself has been in jail, he cannot picture what Gao has been through.  Yang said China has been under pressure to release Gao, but he believes officials may use covert ways to keep Gao under control.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More