03 September 2009

An Update on Gao Zhisheng

Since disappearing in February, there have been a lot of rumors about what might have happened to the crusading Chinese rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng. Given that Gao was allegedly treated savagely during a previous disappearance, the more time passed, the more ominous the predictions of his fate became, with some even suggesting that Gao may have been killed.

Now, Beijing legal scholar and rights activist Teng Biao is reporting via his Twitter feed that Gao was briefly in contact with family members as recently as late July. If this news is true, it should allay some of the worst fears about Gao's well-being, but it leaves unanswered serious questions about why he has apparently been deprived of his liberties and under whose authority.

Teng's message, translated into English below:
Is Gao Zhisheng dead? In May and June, quite a few people were privately spreading the word [about this possibility]. In June, Gao's brother went to Beijing to contact the police, and police told him he'd hear something by the end of the month. In July, Gao made a brief telephone call to his relatives in Shaanxi, saying that he was okay. Since then, there has been no further news. Actually, "okay" means "not okay." It seems that Old Gao's not dead, but for the past seven months since 4 February, no one's seen hide nor hair of him.


  1. I don't think it's correct to translate "之后没有音信” as "[then] the line went dead." It is in a new sentence, and probably just means, "After that [i.e., after the phone call] there has been no further news of him [despite the police promise]."

  2. You're right. I translated this too quickly, based on a text printed in a font that was too small to read clearly. Thanks for your suggestion, which I've incorporated above.

  3. I'm praying for him and his family in South Carolina USA.