Recent open letter to Members of Congress and U.S. President about Gao
Friends of Gao Zhisheng
November 30, 2007
Dear President Bush and Honorable Members of Congress,
For millions who seek free expression and rule of law in China, it is of great concern that
Chinese attorney Gao Zhisheng, a key leader of China’s human rights movement and a
symbol, was abducted by Chinese secret police on September 22 and his whereabouts
We, the undersigned lawyers, doctors, scholars and advocates, write to urge you to use
your good offices to seek his release by the Chinese authorities.
We are concerned that Gao, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee whose courage and
commitment to nonviolence are comparable to those of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin
Luther King Jr., is at risk of being tortured.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups believe that Gao’s abduction is
linked to a letter he wrote to the U.S. Congress days before being taken from his home. In
it, he called attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in China as that country
prepares for the 2008 Olympics.
Gao outlined in the letter an eight-year-long suppression of the Falun Gong as “by far the
most long-lasting and serious human rights disaster in China and in the world,”
highlighted the ongoing persecution of Christians like himself, and detailed the brutal
torture suffered by human rights defenders.
That Gao issued this appeal without care for his own safety is testament to his courage
and genuine concern for human rights. That he was abducted for doing so raises serious
doubts about the integrity of Chinese leaders’ promises to the international community to
respect basic human rights.
Gao's abduction and incommunicado detention constitute a violation of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed and committed to ratify,
particularly Article 9 that prohibits arbitrary detention. It also violates the commitments
the Chinese leadership made to the International Olympic Committee when it was
awarded the 2008 Games.
Gao risked his freedom and has apparently risked his life out of the belief that the U.S.
government would promote uphold justice for thousands of persecuted Chinese. We urge
you to show that his trust was not misplaced, by urging the Chinese leadership to release
Gao and begin to address the violations he has outlined.
Your intervention would not only benefit Gao and his family, but our own nation as well,
for he and others like him represent the future of China.