12/17/2011, 00.00
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Chinese government admits to re-arresting Gao Zhisheng

The news reported by Xinhua, does not specify the reasons for the decision, or where the lawyer who defends human rights, missing for 20 months, has been brought. The family is worried and concerned that in reality he has been killed. As of August, the disappearances of dissidents are legal.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Gao Zhisheng, the lawyer and activist for human rights, missing for over 20 months, is in prison. The announcement came in a brief report on Xinhua official news agency, which however, does not specify where Gao is held and is of no comfort for his family, who fear that in reality he was killed, since none of them are allowed contact with the prisoner .

This was revealed by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), the NGO that monitors the human rights situation in China, said in a statement issued yesterday by telephone by Gao Zhiyi, Gao’s older, "government officials at first denied knowing where he was and now say they have once again put him in prison. This proves that the authorities have had him throughout this period. I fear he has been killed and this declaration only serves to give them more time. "

Gao, a Christian lawyer of 45, was once a model lawyer of the Communist Party. Over the years he has become an activist for human rights and has defended Christians, Uighurs, members of Falun Gong and other victims of abuse. In 2006 he was sentenced to three years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power", but the sentence was suspended and turned into probation. Since then he had lived under house arrest until February 2009 when police took him away again. After a long period of silence, he reappeared in March last year. In April he was allowed to go to the cemetery, escorted by four police vehicles. He has since disappeared.

The disappearances of dissidents became legal on 30 August, when the Chinese authorities published the amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure. Today it is legal to implement enforced disappearances. The authorities can detain a person in a secret place without informing the family or the outside world, to the point no-one ever knows if a person has disappeared forever. [See 19/09/2011, "With ‘enforced disappearances’, the Communist Party becomes a bunch of common criminals"]
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