NEW YORK – Chinese security forces’ severe torture and disappearance of leading human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gao Zhisheng highlights the life-threatening danger facing Falun Gong adherents and those who come to their defense in China and must prompt a strong international response, the Falun Dafa Information Center said Thursday.
“Gao Zhisheng has repeatedly risked his life to stand up against injustice. He has been abducted and tortured largely for defending Falun Gong adherents publicly, exposing the atrocities they have suffered and calling upon the regime’s leadership to end its campaign against this large group of ordinary Chinese seeking to practice their faith in peace,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesman Erping Zhang.
“His horrific treatment for doing so should be a wake-up call to the international community of the Chinese regime’s disregard for human rights and the rule of law. Gao’s case shows clearly that absent international pressure with teeth, China’s leaders cannot be depended upon to uphold the basic dignity and rights of their own people.”
Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese rights lawyer featured on the front page of the New York Times in 2005 and listed among the top three candidates for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, relayed the brutal torture he suffered in police custody in 2007 in a statement released on his behalf on Monday and published by the China Aid Association and Human Rights in China. (statement)
Several days before the letter was made public, on Feb. 4, Gao was again abducted by Chinese authorities. His current whereabouts remain unknown and he is at severe risk of torture.
In the statement released Monday, Gao describes the treatment at the hands of Chinese security agents after he was abducted on September 21, 2007 for writing a letter to the U.S. Congress detailing abuses surrounding preparation for the Olympic games.
Gao describes in great detail being stripped naked, thrown to a concrete floor where several officials beat him and shocked him with electric batons all over his body, including on his genitals and in his mouth. On other occasions, Gao was pinned down while torturers pierced his genitals with sharp objects. During the abuse, his torturers repeatedly linked his treatment to that of Falun Gong, whose persecution he is known for publicly condemning:
“The 12 courses [of torture techniques] we’re going to give to you were practiced on the Falun Gong,” Gao recounts one torturer named Wang saying. “We can torture you to death without your body being found.”