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The Chinese regime has officially sentenced rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng to three years in prison. Gao has been under almost custody continuously since 2009. Critics say this is another way for the regime to ensure Gao isn't released to the outside world.
The Chinese regime has officially sentenced high-profile Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng to three years in prison, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday (December 16).
The sentence, for subversion, was first given to Gao in 2006 after he wrote a series of letters to Communist Party officials calling for an end of the persecution of Falun Gong—a spiritual group the regime has been persecuting since 1999. That sentence was then suspended for five years, however Gao was put under house arrest and then taken into custody in 2009. Since then, Gao's whereabouts have been unknown and the regime has evaded questions on the subject from international media.
Beijing-based activist Hu Jia—also a victim of persecution by the Chinese Communist Party—tells NTD this is a rare acknowledgement from the regime of Gao's existence.
[Hu Jia, Rights Activist]:
"This news shows that Chinese officials are acknowledging that Gao is in their hands. That is to say, in the next few years the CCP feels its authority could be shaken. So they feel that if they release Gao, it would spell trouble for them—a recipe for disaster for them—so they exercise their power. They feel the price of international condemnation is less than the strong independent voice of a free Gao Zhisheng."
Gao's wife Geng He managed to escape China to the United States in 2009. She said she was shocked by the news.
Gao is one of several high profile activists including Chen Guangcheng, Liu Xiaobo and Ai Weiwei, who have faced continual harassment and persecution by the Chinese Communist Party.