The Economist. Jan 15th 2010 GAO ZHISHENG is, or now more likely was, “one of China’s ten best lawyers”, and that was the judgment of the Chinese government, his nemesis. For courage, he ranks at the top. Mr Gao, self-taught in law after being discharged from the People’s Liberation Army, took up the cases of dispossessed farmers, persecuted Christians and members of the Falun Gong cult whom few lawyers were brave enough to represent. After documenting in great detail the state’s barbaric persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, in 2005 Mr Gao wrote an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao calling for an end to practitioners’ detention, torture and humiliation. He then quit the Chinese Communist Party, calling it “the proudest day of my life”.
That was when his own persecution intensified. His Shengzhi law office in Beijing was shut down. State goons attempted to run him down. He was taken into custody, beaten and charged with subversion. One torture session lasted 50 days, with police revelling in his pain and applying electric batons to his genitals. Mr Gao later published the details of this session in another open letter.
Just before that letter came out, nearly a year ago, Mr Gao disappeared for the last time. His brother has tracked down the policeman who detained Mr Gao back then. This cop has told him that Mr Gao “went missing while out for a walk” in September. If Mr Gao has indeed been “disappeared”, may Mr Hu and Mr Wen be held to account for it.