October 5, 2018 – Submission to UN on Enforced Disappearance of Gao Zhisheng

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  1. Identity of Disappeared Person

(a) Family name(s): Gao (高)

(b) Given names(s): Zhisheng (智晟)

(c) Sex: Male

(d) Date of birth: April 20, 1964

(e) ID Card No:

 (f) Place of Usual Residence: Beijing Municipality (北京市)

  1. Date of arrest, abduction or disappearance (at least month and year): 

Mr. Gao has been disappeared since September 3, 2017. OnAugust 13, 2017, Chinese activists helped Mr. Gao escape house arrest in Shaanxi Province and took him to another location, where police located him on September 3.Prior to August 13, 2017, Mr. Gao had been held under house arrest since August 7, 2014, after his release from a three-year prison sentence (for “inciting subversion of state power”), which was issued when he allegedly violated the terms of his probation.

  1. Place of arrest, abduction or where the disappearance person was last seen:

Mr. Gao was taken from a residential courtyard near Zhangbi Castle, a site in Zhangbi Village, Jiexiu City, Shanxi Province, where he had been taken by activists on August 13, 2017, after they helped him escape house arrest.

  1. State or State-supported forces believed to be responsible for the disappearance:

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

According to lawyers hired by Mr. Gao’s family, the State bodies responsible for his disappearance are Beijing Municipality Public Security Department and others acting under their direction, includingShanxi Province Public Security Department, Shaanxi Province Public Security Department, Yulin City Public Security Bureau (Shaanxi Province), and Jiexiu City Public Security Bureau (Shanxi Province).

(b) If identification as State agents is not possible, please indicate why you believe that Government authorities, or persons linked to them, may be responsible for the incident.


(c) If there are witnesses to the incident, please provide their names and relation to the victim. If they wish to remain anonymous, indicate if they are relatives, by-standers, or others. If there is evidence, please specify.  

There are no known witnesses to the incident.

  1. Indicate any action taken by relatives or others to locate the person (including inquiries to police, places of incarceration, or UN Human Rights Council, or habeas corpus petition etc.): 
  • Complaints(when, by whom, and before which organ/s):

Since Mr. Gao’s disappearance in September 2017, his elder brother has repeatedly inquired about his whereabouts at the Jia County Public Security Bureau and Yulin City Public Security Bureau (both in Shaanxi Province). In response, authorities at these bureaus have occasionally said that Mr. Gao is being detained in Beijing, but they have not disclosed his exact whereabouts. Authorities have rejected requests by family members to see Mr. Gao.

The two lawyers enlisted by Mr. Gao’s family to represent him have gone to both of the two above-mentioned public security bureaus, as well as the Beijing Municipality Public Security Bureau, in order to inquire about Mr. Gao’s “personal status” and whereabouts. However, officials at all these bureaus stated their bureaus are not handling Mr. Gao’s case. Below are accounts of the lawyers’ attempts to locate Mr. Gao, and gather any information on his case, during visits to the public security bureaus of Jia County and Yulin City.

On the morning of November 8, 2017, the two lawyers went to the Jia County Public Security Bureau to inquire about Mr. Gao, seeking out the office director, deputy director (surnamed Li, 李), and head of the bureau’s legal team. Bureau officials informed the lawyers that they were not handling Mr. Gao’s case, and that they were not aware of any public security body handling it. In addition, the only National Security personnel in the bureau informed the lawyers that they had no knowledge of Mr. Gao’s case.

On the afternoon of November 8, 2017, the lawyers went to the Yulin City Public Security Bureau, first inquiring at the office of National Security. A female officer, whom the lawyers assumed was the office head, informed the lawyers that she did not know what National Security body was handling Mr. Gao’s case. The lawyers then went to the main office of the Yulin City Public Security Bureau, whose director informed them that, to his own knowledge, his bureau was not handling Gao’s case, and that he was not certain if there had been any determination about the case. The lawyers subsequently went to the bureau’s legal department with the intention of inquiring about whether there had been any legal enforcement (or “coercive”) measures taken against Mr. Gao. However, once they arrived at the department entrance, two uniformed personnel, including one who had been guarding the bureau’s main front entrance, suddenly pushed the lawyers away from the door of the department. The two men told the lawyers to immediately leave the building and escorted them out of the bureau. Once outside, the lawyers were told that someone inside the bureau had criticized the door guard for allowing them inside, which was the reason why they were being removed. From outside the front entrance, one of the lawyers called the bureau’s legal department and asked about Mr. Gao’s case. The individual who answered the phone, after apparently asking about the case in the office, replied to the lawyer that the department was not handling Mr. Gao’s case.

On February 2, 2018, the two lawyers sent a letter to China’s Ministry of Public Security, Shaanxi Province Public Security Bureau, Jia County Public Security Bureau, and Yulin City Public Security Bureau; in the letter, the lawyers explained that they were addressing the letter to four public security bodies since they were unable to determine what body was handling Mr. Gao’s case. In the letter, the lawyers indicated that they had previously sent inquiries to public security bureaus of Jia County and Yulin City, but that these bodies did not provide information about Mr. Gao. The lawyers’ letter said that public security officials should promptly inform Mr. Gao’s family of his “personal status” and whereabouts. As basis for this request, the lawyers underscored that the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that authorities must disclose execution of coercive measures in a timely manner, and that no laws, regulations, or normative documents in China authorize a public security department or other State authority to forcibly disappear a citizen.

Date Submitted: October 5, 2018

See more UN work on case of Gao Zhisheng:

March 22, 2018 – Chinese Government’s Use of Enforced Disappearance as Political Persecution
July 23, 2012 – Update to UN on Enforced Disappearance of Gao Zhisheng
April 15, 2009 – Communication on a Victim of an Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance
November 15, 2006 – Communiqué to UN Special Procedures on Behalf of Gao Zhisheng

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