Family begs for lawyer's return

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2011, 12:00am


The elder brother of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has posted an online search notice for his brother, who has been missing for more than a year.

Gao Zhiyi said he put up the notice yesterday, on the fifth anniversary of his brother's disappearance, because the family was worried about his welfare. His brother's wife, Geng He, issued an open letter on August 9 saying she wanted the family to be reunited.

Gao Zhisheng first disappeared on August 15, 2006, before being arrested about three months later. He was convicted of subversion in December 2006, and sentenced to three years in prison, which was suspended for five years.

But the New York-based group Human Rights in China said he was taken from his home village in Shaanxi by state security personnel in February 2009. He resurfaced in March last year, but his family said he disappeared again about a month later.

In the online notice, Gao Zhiyi said he last saw his brother at the Ching Ming festival in April 2010, when the lawyer was accompanied by several state security officers when he returned home to pay respects to his mother.

Gao Zhiyi said his brother had returned to Beijing afterwards, and they had talked over the phone once.

'It has been more than a year now, and nothing about my brother has been heard. We are very worried,' he said, adding that a director of a Beijing public security bureau had told him that his brother had 'gone missing'.

Gao Zhiyi unsuccessfully attempted to seek an explanation from the petition and letters bureau in Beijing last September.

'We deserve an explanation - no matter whether my brother is still alive or not,' he said.

Bob Fu, president of the New York-based China Aid Association, said Gao Zhiyi would visit Beijing to petition the state in the next few days.

In a rare interview with the Associated Press before he was taken away last year, Gao Zhisheng said he had decided to give up his fight against Beijing and wanted to join his wife and children in the United States. But he also accused police of stripping him bare and pummelling him with holstered handguns when he was detained in 2009.