High-profile Chinese rights lawyer ordered to close law firm – AFP

From AFP, via INQ7.net:

A high-profile human and civil rights lawyer who recently urged Chinese leaders to end their persecution of the banned Falungong sect has been ordered to close his practice for one year, he said Saturday.

“I was notified by the justice bureau yesterday that we have to stop operating for a year,” Gao Zhisheng told Agence France-Presse.

“If I don’t abide by this within a year, my personal freedom is likely to be restricted,” the 41-year-old lawyer said.

After Gao wrote an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao last month calling for an end to the often brutal persecution of the spiritual sect, authorities met with him several times to demand he withdraw his request.

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