How the Family of a Dissident Fled China

David W. Chen of the New York Times reports on the family of lawyer and activist Gao Zhisheng. Gao’s wife, daughter, and son came to the U.S. in March 2009 and received asylum. Gao himself is still currently missing.

Mr. Gao’s disappearance has become a delicate diplomatic issue ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement on June 4. Laura Tischler, a State Department spokeswoman, said that American diplomats had not yet met with Ms. Geng [Gao's wife]. But she said that a senior American official discussed the case on March 31 with high-ranking Chinese officials in Beijing, and that State Department officials had raised the case, most recently on April 15, with the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of well-known human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng,” Ms. Tischler said. “We have raised our concerns about Mr. Gao’s whereabouts and well-being repeatedly, both in Washington and in Beijing.”

[...] Beijing officials, however, say that nothing untoward has happened to the Gaos.

“There’s no political persecution or limits on the freedom of the family,” Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said at a briefing in Beijing in March. “We’ve handled the case in strict accordance with the law.” In response to inquiries about Mr. Gao’s whereabouts, the Chinese authorities have not furnished further information and have not acknowledged that he was taken into custody.

Read also “The Nonexistent Case Of The Missing Lawyer” on Forbes.

May 9, 2009 1:17 PM
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