(The website of China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group is having some technical issue, and we are given permission to post this CHRLCG statement. – the editor)
On August 7, 2014, the prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was released from prison, but denied contacts with outsiders and closely monitored by Chinese authorities. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group strongly condemns this practice and urges Chinese authorities to safeguard Gao Zhisheng’s rights to communication and liberty in accordance with the law.
In August 2006, Gao Zhisheng was charged with the crime of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to three years of fixed-term imprisonment, five years of probation and one year of deprivation of political rights on 22 December 2006. In 2011 Gao Zhisheng was detained in Shaya County Prison in Xinjiang.
On August 7 2014, Gao Zhisheng was released from prison and his brother Gao Zhiyi picked him up. Gao’s wife Geng He, who has been exiled to the US, asked Gao Zhiyi whether he had received Gao Zhisheng on the phone. Gao Zhiyi only said that “we are on the way”. However, when Geng He asked to speak to Gao Zhisheng, Gao Zhiyi said “no” and then hung up the phone. On the same day, Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia also called Gao Zhiyi, who answered the phone but only said that “no, not now” and then hung up the phone again. Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong said that there were four national security officers accompanying Gao Zhisheng after his release. At present, Gao Zhisheng and his brother have arrived at home of his father-in-law in Urumqi, Xinjiang. Gao Zhiyi said to media that Gao Zhisheng’s health is in a bad condition and therefore it is not convenient for him to contact with the outside world.
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group believes that although Gao Zhisheng is subjected to one year of deprivation of political rights after his sentence in prison, he is still a free man in many aspects and entitled to the right to communication and liberty. Chinese Prison Law also stipulates that a person released after serving his sentence shall enjoy equal rights with other citizens in accordance with the law.
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group believes that Gao Zhisheng’s situations where he could not answer any call from his family and his family could not tell the truth to outsiders on the phone have shown that he is still under strict surveillance. What Chinese authorities have done to Gao and his family not only lacks legal basis but also constitutes violations to Gao’s human rights. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group will continue to watch closely the issue of Gao Zhisheng and urges the Chinese authorities to respect his rights and freedom.
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group
August 8, 2014