Saturday, April 3, 2010

Missing Human Rights Attorney Gao Zhisheng Confirmed 'Alive'


SHANXI--On Sunday, March 28, 2010, missing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng spoke to his wife and children for the first time in over a year, confirming he is still alive. False rumors of his death, torture, and escape from the custody of the Chinese Government have shrouded Gao's absence with mystery. Gao's brief phone conversations with western media on Sunday mark the first official contact the public has had with him since his abduction by police on February 4, 2009.

Over the phone, Gao informed AP and Reuters reporters that he had been released from detention six months ago, and had taken up residence at Wutai Shan mountain, a Buddhist landmark in northern Shanxi province. He refused to give details on his condition, saying he could not legally give interviews.

Close friend and fellow human rights lawyer Li Heping also confirmed he had spoken with Gao on Sunday. "It's certainly him. I spoke to him over the phone. I could tell from the way he spoke and the way he spoke to me that it's him." When Li asked to visit, Gao refused to give him details on his whereabouts, saying he had "friends around him"--indicating he was being held under close surveillance by Chinese authorities.

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