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 Whistleblowers Need Protection


Letter to President Bush about Gao Zhisheng

August 11, 2008

Dear President Bush,

We are asking for your help in securing the safety of Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese lawyer renowned for his defense of the rights of the Chinese people who has been missing since last September. We are also seeking help for the release of Hu Jia, a famous activist in China and friend of Gao, who is also currently incarcerated.

Our hope is that you will discuss Gao and Hu Jia with China's leadership when you goes to China for the Olympics. While others are protesting China's human rights by not attending, your presence could be an even more effective way of helping human rights in China by actively discussing it with Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.

Gao Zhisheng, a Nobel Prize nominee and recipient of the 2007 ABOTA's Courageous Award, who is sometimes referred to as "China's conscience," has been missing since he wrote an open letter to our Congress expressing his concerns about human rights before the 2008 Olympics. Gao and his family have been persecuted before for open letters he has written to the highest levels of the Chinese regime calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong, though he is not a Falun Gong practitioner himself.

The first news of Gao's whereabouts and condition since his abduction in September has been discovered recently. It is now known that Gao and his family have been moved out of Beijing because of the upcoming Olympics and that the Chinese Communist Party is very worried about this news coming out because Gao has been persecuted very badly in recent months.

Gao was tortured for two months—so severely that he tried to take his own life twice in that time. The torture methods were similar to what Chinese police do to Falun Gong practitioners, similar to what Gao described in his third open letter to the Chinese regime, which described horrific and inhumanly brutal torture.

During the CCP's torture of Gao, they asked him to write letters denouncing Falun Gong; denouncing the founder of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi; and praising the CCP. He refused all of them.

Because Beijing is so concerned about Gao's situation coming to light, they have kept him completely isolated.

After his open letters, Gao found his law practice taken away, constant monitoring and surveillance by police of both him and his family, and later was abducted and tortured. The CCP has not spared his wife, 14-year-old daughter, and 4-year-old son in their efforts to silence Gao. But Gao, with a deep belief in justice, continues to do what he believes is right.

As described in his book A China More Just, Gao has defended the rights of house-church members, coal miners, petitioners, home-demolition victims, and Falun Gong adherents. He was deemed one of China's top-ten lawyers in the past, before his defense of Falun Gong practitioners.

Hu Jia is a well-known activist in China and an internationally recognized Chinese rights defender. Hu was involved in the democratic movement, as well as environmental and HIV/AIDS issues. Hu and his wife Zeng Jinyan received a 2007 special press freedom award from Reporters Without Borders, and were also nominated for the Sakharov Human Rights Award of the European Parliament.

Hu worked tirelessly on the rescue of Gao Zhisheng. He is the cofounder of Friends of Gao Zhisheng. Hu was arrested in December 2007, three months after Gao was taken away from home, and in April of this year was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for talking to foreign media and publishing articles on the Internet. Hu's wife is now under house arrest with the youngest prisoner in the world—their 11-month old daughter whom has been under house arrest since she was three months old.

Your support would be deeply appreciated and may be instrumental in freeing and protecting these crucial figures to China's human rights movement.


Friends of Gao Zhisheng

Terri Marsh
Executive Director
Human Rights Law Foundation Washington D. C.

Michael Callahan
Chairman, International Issues Committee, American Board of Trial
Advocates (ABOTA), Florida

Dr. James Wilson
Neuropsychologist and clinic director, California

David Kilgour
Former Member of Parliament

David Matas
Senior legal counsel of B'nai Brith Canada

Ed Chapin
Member of ABOTA Board

Dicky Grigg
Member of ABOTA Board

Sarah Cook
Co-editor of Gao Zhisheng's book
A China More Just
New York

Chris Wu
China Affairs

Dr. Sherry Zhang
Medical device researcher

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP
Vice-President of the European Parliament

Willy Fautré
Director, Human Rights Without Frontiers International

Theresa Y. Chu
Member of New York Bar
Asia Director, Human Rights Law Foundation

Barbara A. Schatz
Clinical Professor of Law
Columbia University School of Law
435 West 116th Street, Box B-6
New York, NY 10027

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