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Wife of Missing Chinese Lawyer Denies Contact

The wife of a missing Chinese human rights lawyer is denying reports that her husband has been in contact with relatives and is working in western China.

Geng He says she does not know the whereabouts of her husband, Gao Zhisheng. She says until the Chinese government allows Gao to contact her directly, she has no way of verifying where he is or whether he is safe and free.

A California-based rights group, the Dui Hua Foundation, reported last week that the Chinese Embassy in Washington said Gao was working in Urumqi, the capital of western China's restive Xinjiang region.

Until Gao's disappearance on February 4, 2009, he was an outspoken defender of underground Christians, members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement and other Chinese persecuted for their beliefs.

Gao's wife fled to the United States last year, she says after suffering harassment from Chinese authorities. She addressed the case this week in a statement issued by the New York-based group Human Rights in China.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.