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Video details Chinese Christian’s torture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Gao Zhisheng, a Christian human rights attorney in China, has been missing for more than 100 days, and a new video describes the torture he endured previously at the hands of government officials.

The video, released by China Aid and Voice of the Martyrs, is a dramatic re-enactment of Gao’s account, which also is available in written form at www.freegao.com.

Four U.S. Senators have gotten involved in the case, calling for the Chinese government to release Gao. In a May 14 letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao, Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said they fear Gao’s life “may be in grave danger.”

“Mr. Gao’s disappearance appears to be a violation of both Chinese and international law,” the senators wrote. “We urge your government to inform the concerned public of his whereabouts, to guarantee Mr. Gao’s right to be free from arbitrary detention, and to secure his release.”

Gao, a 2008 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and a Chinese army veteran, was voted one of China’s top 10 lawyers in 2001 by a Chinese ministry of justice publication. In 2007 he sent an open letter to the U.S. Congress detailing widespread human rights abuses in China.

Following the letter, Gao was kidnapped and held by public security officers for more than 50 days, being physically and verbally tortured repeatedly, as recounted in the video.

“He was told that he would be killed if he told anyone about what happened,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Mr. Gao was last seen on February 4, 2009 at a relative’s home, where more than 10 public security officers and others forcibly removed him from bed and whisked him away to an unknown location. Mr. Gao’s whereabouts are still unknown.”

In addition to his wife, Geng He, Gao has a 16-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. The three of them also have been subject to harassment from the Chinese government, and in March they were granted political asylum in the United States.

Two organizations, China Aid and Voice of the Martyrs, are urging concerned citizens to join the more than 70,000 people who have signed a petition for Gao’s release, which will be presented to the Chinese Embassy in Washington. They hope the petition will make the Chinese government aware that the world is watching the situation and does not approve of the inhumane treatment Gao has undergone.

“Freedom is one of the most important spiritual factors of a human being. In addition to physical needs, man also has his equally important spiritual needs, which is a blessing given by God,” Gao wrote in his 2007 letter to Congress.

“However, the Chinese people are ruthlessly deprived of this blessing. In China, freedom is not only a luxury item, but it also regarded as a dangerous item by the dictators. The suppression of people’s longing for freedom is against human nature and against heavenly principles,” Gao wrote.

In a speech on the Senate floor in April, Dorgan, chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, urged action toward Gao’s release.

“There are many today that languish in dark cells, dark cells of Chinese prisons, just because they spoke out to defend the rights of others,” Dorgan said. “None have done so more than Mr. Gao, who is a noted and celebrated human rights lawyer, who has lost his law office, lost his license, been imprisoned now twice, has now disappeared into the prison system, where tortured before, we expect is being tortured again, and we need to put a stop to it.

“We need to find a way to convince the Chinese government to tell us what has happened to Mr. Gao; what have they done with him, how do they justify it and when, when, when will they tell us that they will release this man to be with his family and begin to accord people like Mr. Gao, and others who stand up for the rights of others, the same human rights that we would expect them to be given?” Dorgan said.

Gao’s wife wrote an open letter to Congress in April, urging them to use their international influence to reduce persecution in China.

“Honorable members of the U.S. Congress, please help me support my husband, lawyer Gao Zhisheng, so that the evil forces will know that there is resistance against persecution; so that the millions of Chinese suffering this despotic rule will know that the United States is concerned about their human rights situation, and will not give up,” she wrote.

“My husband would be more resolute because of this, the Chinese people would feel inspired because of this, and China and the world would eventually transform because of this.”
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach.
WARNING: The depiction of the torture described by Gao Zhisheng is realistic. Some effort has been amde to bleep out cursing. However, the langauge and visuals are GRAPHIC. View the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRh6DmMUn5A.

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