After reading a recent BBC report that Chinese Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng was "alive and working in Urumqi, and there has been [in] contact with his family," I wondered how his wife and children would respond to this latest rumour. After all, it was only weeks ago that an official told Gao's brother that Gao had gone missing while "out for a walk!" As it turns out, Gao's wife, Geng He, has strongly refuted this latest information about her husband.
Gao was last seen in public in February 2009. Gao has been repeatedly kidnapped, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured by authorities for defending the persecuted. Gao was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.
In their recent press release about these rumours, VOMC partner ChinaAid noted:
Around the same time, a Chinese informant then posted photos of Gao Zhisheng online in a Chinese report, claiming he worked in the same company as Gao Zhisheng. He said that Gao was a talkative, even funny man, who had allegedly become a successful operational manager, talking about his wife and family and even "whistling a happy tune" daily.
On February 14th, the story broke to western media, leading to speculation as to whether the reports were valid. One American legal expert Chinese government's disclosure a "step in the right direction," but has called the Chinese government's treatment of Gao's case highly irregular. Gao's wife, Geng He has denounced the claim as false, greatly frustrated by the lack of communication and deception. Neither she nor Gao's brother or sister have been able to contact him, much less acquire "useful information" about his whereabouts and condition.
ChinaAid President Bob Fu added, "With no evidence to suggest otherwise, this appears to be a ploy by the Chinese government to confuse people and cover up the truth. By telling reporters and advocacy organizations that Gao is in Xinjiang, it will keep them from hunting around Beijing for answers. The Chinese government is just playing games now."
Please pray for strength for this family during this difficult time. Pray that the truth about Gao's condition and whereabouts will be revealed.
You can also support this family by signing a petition calling for his release at http://www.freegao.com/. The site also provides addresses to write to leaders and encourage them to stand and support Gao.
For the complete press release from ChinaAid, please click here.