In an open letter sent to Minister Wu Aiying (吴爱英) on May 6, 2010, the Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers called upon the Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China to investigate and provide information on Gao Zhisheng, who has once again been disappeared from his home.
In February 2009, Mr. Gao was reportedly taken away by police and no information about his whereabouts or safety were provided, until he resurfaced in late March 2010, when he confirmed he was in Shanxi province. He was later returned to his Beijing apartment in April 2009. According to reports, Mr. Gao has again disappeared with no information on his whereabouts, raising concerns that he has once again been detained and mistreated.
The Committee expressed its deep concern that Mr. Gao has been disappeared again. In light of Mr. Gao’s assertions that he was tortured during his September 2007 detention and his reticence regarding his treatment by the authorities during his 14-month long disappearance, the Committee expressed its belief that Mr. Gao is in great danger and urged the Ministry of Justice to verify Mr. Gao’s personal well-being and safety.
The detention and harassment of Mr. Gao as a consequence of his professional decision to take on clients in politically sensitive cases has a chilling effect on the entire legal profession, and undermines the development of a professional and independent bar and the rule of law in China. It is also inconsistent with international standards on the independence of lawyers.
The Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers is housed at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School (http://www.leitnercenter.org). It is a group of independent lawyers from outside China whose goal is to support lawyers in China in their quest to strengthen the rule of law there.