ABC reports: "Recently, there's an overseas organisation called the Future China Forum, led by lawyer Guo Guoding and Professor Yuan Hongbing, and they cooperated with lawyer Gao, and drafted a future constitution for China.
I think, on this point, it's highly possible that the Chinese Communist Party charges lawyer Gao with colluding with overseas anti-China forces, and subverting the state, and the crime for subverting the state is very serious," he says. (more)
Human Rights Watch said the pattern of abuses against lawyers contravened China's obligations under international law, as well as its stated commitment to the rule of law. China's constitution and numerous domestic laws protect all individuals against violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure discrimination, pressure or other arbitrary action as a consequence of legitimate exercise of their rights. In addition, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees that everyone is entitled to a fair trial, as does the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998 but has not yet ratified.
Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese authorities to release Gao, declare a mistrial in Chen's case and ensure that lawyers are free of intimidation and interference as they carry out their professional duties; they are entitled to this protection under the United Nations Statement of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
SPEECH TO THE RALLY FOR RESCUING
RIGHTS ATTORNEY GAO ZHISHENG
We stand here today in solidarity to honour the same cause as the brave lawyers from China. A few days ago, China’s most prominent rights lawyer and rights defender, Gao Zhisheng, was arrested by the Chinese authorities. Known as the Martin Luther King of China, Gao is a Christian who has been the most visible critic of the Communist regime, within China, for its persecution against Christians, Muslims and practitioners of the Falun Gong meditation practice.
In China, almost no one is willing to risk career, family, freedom, and sometimes life itself by openly defying the fiats of the Chinese Communist Party. At present, the Chinese regime is engaged in a campaign of genocide against Falun Gong practitioners. The Chinese Communist Party has made a political decision to completely destroy its people, by whatever means necessary and remove Falun Gong entirely from Chinese society. The government has committed almost 3,000 documented murders of Falun Gong practitioners in detention and other institutions to the present time. Hundreds of thousands of practitioners who refuse to give up their belief have been incarcerated in slave labour camps and are undergoing some of the most diabolical tortures ever conceived by human minds. The recent news of large-scale organ harvesting targeting the practitioners across China is one example of the most grotesque form of evil on the planet. Their bodies are cremated after all vital organs are removed while they are still alive. Thousands have disappeared and their family members wonder if they have become unwilling organ donors. The July 6 report of the independent investigation conducted by Kilgour-Matas confirms those allegations to be true. It is said that the mounting evidence amounts to genocide.
Of central concern to lawyers should be the way in which the Chinese ‘legal’ system and ‘judiciary’ have been prostituted to the whims of the political leadership and the restraints which have been imposed on lawyers.
The Chinese Government has formally forbidden all lawyers to take on the defense of any Falun Gong practitioners who are charged (or more commonly just sentenced to prison, without charge), usually on the basis of having ‘used an evil cult to obstruct the working of the law’. Moreover, the courts have been formally instructed that under no account are they to accept any lawsuits on behalf of Falun Gong members. In addition, the courts are instructed that with respect to any matter relating to the Falun Gong, the courts shall accept the instructions of the ‘610 Office’, a completely extrajudicial body established by the government which lacks any constitutional authority to whatever to usurp the authority of the ‘courts’.
The Chinese government has also instructed police, prison guards, and prosecutors to use ‘all necessary means’ to deal with Falun Gong practitioners. These are code words meaning ‘You may kill or torture with impunity’. In fact, there have been specific directives to these officials and functionaries stating that if Falun Gong practitioners should die under questioning, the interrogators will not be held be responsible, the deaths should be listed as suicides, and the bodies cremated as quickly as possible.
In this context, it is almost beyond comprehension that a Chinese lawyer would step forward to defend Falun Gong practitioners and defy the Party/Government/Courts/Police in a state that is today the world's most serious violator of human rights. But that is what Gao Zhisheng has done.
Let me tell you briefly about this. Over the past seven years, Falun Gong practitioners have called for a stop to the persecution. This year is unique in that attorney Gao Zhisheng, who had delivered open letters to the CCP supporting Falun Gong, now stands beside Falun Gong practitioners. An individual in Tianjing City once appraised Gao Zhisheng's letters as having "Thoroughly wiped out the evil names that the Chinese Communist Party had tried to impose upon Falun Gong." Many people in China began to see the facts of the persecution of Falun Gong through Gao's letters. His subsequent harassments by the CCP also drew international attention.
Facing ever-raising indignation in China, some people prefer violence, some persist in peaceful reform, while others maintain a pessimistic stance. The widespread distribution of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party accompanied by the huge wave of withdrawals from the CCP has also captured international attention.
Gao said, "In my opinion, the crux of China's problems is the evil system currently maintained by the CCP. Once the CCP collapses, this system will naturally disintegrate. However, many people still hold unrealistic perceptions of the CCP. How can we help these people eliminate such false hopes or improve their understandings? The Nine Commentaries provides a good means for people to see the CCP for what it is. I believe that spreading The Nine Commentaries is presently the most peaceful and effective way of reforming China. In fact, as you have all seen, The Nine Commentaries' effect on China is already in progress. The number of people withdrawing from the CCP every day continues to break previous records."
"I can say that I now have a better understanding of the Party. The Nine Commentaries was very helpful. And this is not only my personal opinion."
Someone from Chongqing told him, "Attorney Gao, I distribute hundreds of copies of The Nine Commentaries to my fellow countrymen every year." He described to Attorney Gao his personal transformation—"Previously, as did most Chinese, I also trusted the CCP without doubt. I felt so sad that first time I read The Nine Commentaries. So I read it a second time and then a third time. Then, I started paying attention to the actions of the CCP which directly affected my daily life."
After that, this person read the three open letters written by Attorney Gao. Now, he has quit the CCP and has been urging his friends to quit as well. He said, "Attorney Gao, now that I have quit the CCP, I feel my soul has been cleansed."
Attorney Gao said, "I think what he said is also a reflection of my own thoughts. Just as I wrote at the end of my CCP-quitting statement: This was the proudest day of my life!"
Gao went on to say, "Actually, we really did not question much about the CCP's past actions and rules before, especially because we did not know its past history. Someone once asked me why I had not cared about Falun Gong during the previous years and why I only started to pay attention recently. Before 2003, I really did not think about whether it was unjust for the CCP to suppress Falun Gong. I was not intentionally seeking anything when I read The Nine Commentaries, but it has transformed our minds step by step."
Since the end of 2005, Attorney Gao's fate has been joined together with the cultivation practice of Falun Gong, which has now been persecuted for seven years. They have one thing in common: each did not give up their beliefs under the pressure from the CCP, but rather each grew stronger in the resistance against the persecution.
Attorney Gao said, “At this time, I want the outside world to consider this question: During these past seven years, has the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the CCP changed at all? My life has been constantly disrupted by the CCP just because of paying close attention to the issue of the CCP's continuing persecution of Falun Gong. This tells you something. What I have done is like stirring up a hornet's nest! The CCP has not lessened a bit in its persecution of Falun Gong."
The Beijing Justice Bureau ordered Gao Zhisheng to shut down his law firm and stop practicing law for one year beginning on November 4, 2005 which was later on shut down permanently. According to the CECC, Pu Zhiqiang speculated that Gao's open letter calling attention to the "barbaric persecution" of Falun Gong members may have been just one of several reasons for increased government harassment of Gao. Gao had represented numerous activists and taken on sensitive cases of particular interest to news media and human rights groups in 2005. He subsequently was subjected to constant harassment from the CCP thugs including a few attempts on his life. Nevertheless, Gao never once stop to express his views on the evilness of the Party and soon became the leading symbol of the freedom movement in China.
Recently three more lawyers were detained. Even in Hong Kong, a lawmaker was seriously beaten a couple of days ago due to his membership in the Coalition to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong. These detentions and formal arrests have triggered a nationwide campaign (in China) to oppose violence, and this campaign is quickly spreading.
Attorney Guo Feixiong suggests that various international and domestic strengths need to be firm and unyielding in rescuing Gao Zhisheng. “We are not rescuing one person, but China's entire morale and the human spirit. What we are helping is China's entire democratic movement and the human rights movement. Not only does it have an individual characteristic, but it also has a comprehensive overall significance."
We are very worried for Gao’s safety and will demand that the Chinese regime release him without harm and stop immediately the crackdown on human rights lawyers in China.
We wish them well as they slowly progress towards a new free China.
Thank you for joining us in this effort.