March 29, 2010
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 for over a year. Gao's brief phone conversations with western media mark the first official contact the public has had with him since his abduction by police on February 4, 2009.
Yesterday, Gao informed 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 or whereabouts, saying he could not legally give interviews.
Close friend and fellow human rights lawyer Li Heping confirmed he had also spoken with Gao on Sunday. Gao told him he had "friends around him" - indicating he was being held under close surveillance by Chinese authorities.
Gao's wife Geng He and their children were overwhelmed with emotion as they spoke with Gao on Sunday morning. The children could not stop crying. In a statement released on Monday morning, Geng He appealed to the Chinese government to allow Gao Zhisheng to join the family in New York. Gao's family has suffered greatly in his absence. Geng He's parents have been severely harassed in recent months, for which Gao feels guilty.
He told the Associated Press, "I just want to be in peace and quiet for a while and be reunited with my family. Most people belong with family. I have not been with mine for a long time. This is a mistake and I want to correct this mistake."
While on his campaign in Europe to promote awareness of Gao's cause, ChinaAid President Bob Fu attributed the breakthrough to increased international pressure. "Thanks to the more than 124,000 supporters in over 180 countries around the world who have signed the petition to Free Gao, the Chinese Government has been forced to respond and to allow Gao Zhisheng to reconnect with his loved ones."
ChinaAid thanks you for your continued support and urges you to continue to take action. From Argentina to Zimbabwe, you, the international community have answered the call. And this is just the beginning.
Gao is not free yet. His movements are still being watched and monitored. He is not free to speak publicly or without surveillance. We must continue to press the Chinese government to free Gao Zhisheng, to uncensor his movements, and to allow him to reunite with his family.
1. Encourage more to Sign the Petition. Every voice counts, and every voice will be heard!
2. Call on your local representatives to take official action on behalf of Gao Zhisheng.
3. Urge U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to hold the Chinese government to the international covenants on human rights.
Thanks to you, the world has now regained contact with Mr. Gao Zhisheng. Because of you, Gao was able to reconnect with his family. With your continued support, we can make their dream of reunion a reality!For more ways to get involved, visit www.FreeGao.com.
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