IHT (WASHINGTON): The United States said Monday it is troubled by allegations that a Chinese lawyer convicted on subversion charges was subjected to harsh treatment by Chinese authorities.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States will follow up on claims that Gao Zhisheng endured severe mistreatment, including being forced to sit for more than 100 hours straight in an iron chair, during a five-month detention.
"These most recent allegations are quite troubling, and we are going to follow-up on them," McCormack told reporters.
Gao became a prominent critic of China's civil rights lapses in 2002-2006, taking on cases involving property-rights violations, the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement and religious persecution.
Gao was arrested in August 2006, convicted and released into a type of house arrest.
He had been detained after organizing a hunger strike to protest what he said was police brutality against activists.
Gao was convicted in December in a one-day trial based on nine articles posted on Web sites abroad, the official Xinhua News Agency reported then, disclosing the details of the charges against him for the first time.
ET: Open Letter on Maltreatment of Gao Zhisheng and Family