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Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng's whereabouts are still unknown. He was sentenced to five years probation. On Monday that period expired. But Chinese authorities still haven't released Gao nor have they given any information about his current situation.
[Gao Zhiyi, Gao Zhisheng's Brother]:
"I think of him at night and I can't sleep, how can I not think of him. I know his situation is not too good, there is no trace of him, one would surely think of him, I think of him a lot."
Gao Zhisheng is a self-taught Christian lawyer. He was once considered one of the top ten lawyers in China. He took on some of the most sensitive cases in the country, often on a pro bono basis, winning rare victories against authorities.
Falun Gong is a spiritual group banned by the Chinese regime in 1999, it remains one of the most persecuted groups in China. More than 3,400 deaths due to persecution and over 63 thousand cases of torture have been documented so far.
Mark Shan of China Aid, a U.S.-based Chinese Christian organization, says it's no surprise Gao hasn't been released.
Gao's detention has taken its toll on his family. Gao's wife, son and daughter managed to escape China in 2009 and now live in the United States. Gao's daughter has been hit especially hard by his absence.
Vice president of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott, wrote a letter to Gao's wife on August 12th where he expressed admiration for Gao Zhisheng. He wrote Gao "will one day be part of China's future."
China Aid hopes the U.S. vice president can also play a role in securing Gao's freedom.
Gao has now been missing for 923 days. Almost 150 thousand people have signed a petition calling for his release.
Ben Hedges, NTD News.