03/02/2006, 00.00
CHINA

Gao Zhisheng and his group, "the hope of post-Communist China"

The lawyer and human rights activists gathered around him are the "conscience and future of China when the Communist Party collapses". The leadership "is afraid of them and therefore seeks to silence them."

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Last month, the police "spirited away" Hu Jia and Qi Zhiyong, human rights activists linked to the group of Gao Zhisheng, the lawyer "who defies the Communist Party". Their disappearance, Gao told a Hong Kong daily, is connected to preparations for the National People's Assembly, set to be held shortly in the capital.

The intensified pressure against those who have gathered around Gao, is an indication of the fear inspired in the Chinese leadership by this activist and all those he has drawn to his battle "for the return of legality in China".

The work of Gao, in fact, "reflects the emergence of a new group" as yet "without political connation" for the anti-democracy establishment in the country, one that "represents the future". Several intellectuals, human rights activists and journalists, see the lawyer "who defies the Communist Party" as the perfect leader of post-Communist China, and they have urged the international community " to watch closely and to protect" the birth of a new social conscience in China.

We reproduce below a series of statements in favour of the work of Gao Zhisheng gathered by the Epoch Times:

Zhou Fengsuo – leader of the pro-democracy and anti-corruption student revolt which was bloodily suppressed by Communist armoured tanks in Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989 – says: "Gao Zhisheng daily risks his life to gather first-hand information, and to tell the world about how the party has always persecuted the Chinese people. The use of persecution has not abated despite the economic development and changes in party leadership: they use this method against him too, in response to his letters, which proves they are afraid that the truth can no longer be hidden.  Many of my fellow citizens today only care about their immediate interests, sometimes even at the expense of their own souls. In Gao, we can see courage stemming from patriotism, and from being unafraid of difficulties, even when the likelihood of winning appears impossible."

Yuan Hongbin, lawyer and university professor, describes his colleague as "the conscience of China". In an interview with the Sound of Hope radio, he said: "His open letters to the Party are the most powerful challenge to the dictatorship. The Falun Gong issue is a taboo subject in China. In the face of its brutal persecution, so many of its adherents have kept their silence, or just nominally protested. Gao not only competently defended them in court, he also publicized their bloody persecution."

Xu Shuiliang, editor of Digest Online, published three open letters of the lawyer on his site, which are copied by his audience and forwarded to the Chinese community around the world. Xu says the international community "should pay closer attention to the phenomenon". He said: "As a lawyer, Gao takes legal responsibility for every word he writes. Because Gao is a Christian, and not a Falun Gong practitioner himself, he is an objective outsider, and his words carry a lot of weight. The international community should follow him closely because the more visible he manages to be, the safer his life is."

Wu Fan, editor of China Affairs, sees the work of Gao as the "emergence of a new political class". "This group includes Gao Zhisheng, Guo Guoting, Guo Feixiong, and Zheng Enchong, all activists who are very close to the people: they have kind hearts, faith in God, noble principles, legal knowledge and they are hugely popular. When the Communist leadership collapses, theirs are the best talents to employ for the reconstruction of China: the leadership is aware of this and wants to eradicate these talents, which the world has the duty to protect. With these people leading China on the path of democracy and the rule of law, there would be one less menace in the world, and that would be very fortunate for the entire human race. If Gao were able to run for president, I would vote for him with my eyes closed."

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