Submission to UN on Gao Zhisheng – April 15, 2009

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Communication on a Victim of an Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance


To: Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances



1. Identity of the disappeared person:

(a) Family name (*): Gao (高)

(b) First name (*):  Zhisheng (智晟)

(c) Sex: Male

(d) Date of birth: 1966

(e) Identity document Identity card

Place of issue: Kashgar Public Security Bureau, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region


2. Date on which the disappearance occurred (at least as to the month and year) (*):

Date of disappearance: February 4, 2009.
3. Place of arrest or abduction, or where the disappeared person was last seen (*):

Location (if possible street, city, province or other relevant indications): Gao’s hometown in Jingbian County, Yulin District, north Shaanxi Province

4. Forces (State or State-supported) believed to be responsible for the disappearance (*):

(a) If the perpetrators are believed to be State agents, please specify (military, police, persons in uniform or civilian clothes, agents of security services, unit to which they belong, rank and functions, etc.) and indicate why they are believed to be responsible; be as precise as possible:

Policemen of the National Security Unit under Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) are believed to be responsible for Gao’s disappearance.

Gao is a human rights activist and former lawyer who resides in Beijing. Gao had been put under illegal detention by members of the National Security Unit, Beijing PSB since September 22, 2007. On February 4, 2009, Gao was forcibly returned to his family’s home in Shaanxi Province. Gao was guarded by at least 7 National Security Unit policemen along the way and during his stay in his home village. According to Gao’s elder brother and other relatives in his home village, Gao was taken away in a vehicle by these same policemen. Gao has never been seen since.

Gao has previously been abducted by Chinese Government forces on August 15, 2006 and September 22, 2007 and during both times he was subjected to torture, cruel and inhuman treatment.

On August 15, 2006, Gao was kidnapped at his sister’s home in Dongying City, Shandong Province, by members of the National Security Unit under Beijing Municipal PSB. Police did not show a warrant or other decision by a public authority at the time of the arrest; only later, on October 12, 2006, was his lawyer informed that Gao was formally arrested and charged with “inciting to subvert the state.”

On September 22, 2007, Gao was kidnapped by police officers from the State Security Bureau and the National Security Unit of Beijing PSB. CHRD later found out that Gao and his family had been illegally detained in various locations in Beijing and subjected to cruel and humiliating treatment. Gao had been under illegal detention since September 22, 2007 before his forcible return to his home village in February 2009, when he “disappeared”.

(b) If identification as State agents is not possible, why do you believe that Government authorities, or persons linked to them, are responsible for the incident?

(c) If there are witnesses to the incident, indicate their names. If they wish to remain anonymous, indicate if they are relatives, by-passers, etc.; if there is evidence, please specify:

Gao’s elder brother and other relatives saw Gao being taken away in a vehicle by the policemen guarding him, i.e. members of the National Security Unit under Beijing PSB.

5. Action taken by the relatives or others to locate the person (inquiries with police, jail, human rights commission, habeas corpus petition etc.) (*):

(a) Indicate if complaints have been filed, when, by whom, and before which organ.

On February 5, the day after Gao was taken away, Gao’s elder brother and relatives went to Jingbian County Town PSB, requesting to see Gao and to send him clothes. However, the policemen there refused their request, but did not say whether Gao was in police custody. While in the PSB, Gao’s elder brother and relatives saw the same vehicle that took Gao away.

Gao’s family has not taken any further action in locating Gao. Gao has been taken away so many times previously that his family believes there is very little use complaining to the authorities.

(b) Other steps taken:

Gao Zhisheng’s abduction has been widely reported by international human rights organizations and the international media, with numerous calls and petitions for his release.


See more UN work on case of Gao Zhisheng:

Communique to UN Special Procedures on Behalf of Gao Zhisheng, Alleging Arbitrary Detention, Interference in Independency of Lawyers, Retaliation against a Human Rights Defender, Violation of Freedom of Expression, and Torture or Cruel, Inhumane, Degrading Treatment, November 15, 2006

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