China Announces Prison Sentence for Missing Human Rights Lawyer
The mystery of the whereabouts of activist lawyer Gao Zhisheng has deepened with more cryptic comments from the Foreign Minister. The New York Times reports:
In response to a question at a Beijing news conference about Gao Zhisheng, who was taken from his home by the authorities more than a year ago and has not been seen since by his family, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Mr. Gao had been sentenced to prison for subversion. But Mr. Yang did not say whether he was referring to a new sentence or whether he was citing a suspended sentence that Mr. Gao had received in late 2006 after being convicted of incitement to subversion.
At the time, Mr. Gao was quickly released after he issued a confession. He later described that confession as having been coerced by state security personnel who had threatened his children.
…Mr. Yang, who spoke at a joint news conference with Foreign Secretary David Miliband of Britain, said that Mr. Gao had not been tortured, though human rights activists have described that as a possibility. He said nothing to clarify where Mr. Gao was being held, which Chinese officials have described in varying terms.
The Foreign Ministry’s press office said afterward that it had no further information on Mr. Yang’s comments.
Read more about Gao Zhisheng via CDT.