Prominent Christian Lawyer Disappears After Being Rearrested by Chinese Authorities; Friends Beaten for Helping Him Escape

In this photo taken earlier in 2015, Gao Zhisheng talks to journalists in a cave home in northwestern China’s Shaanxi province. Leading Chinese rights lawyer Gao said in his first interview in five years that he was tortured with an electric baton to the face and spent three years in solitary confinement during his latest period of detention since 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Traynor)

Prominent Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng reportedly managed to briefly escape house arrest. But he was rearrested and his whereabouts are now unknown, a persecution watchdog group has found.

International Christian Concern reported on Wednesday that Gao’s friends, Shao Zhongguo and Li Fawang, had helped the activist escape from his home in Shaanxi in August.

Gao hid in a vacation house in Jiexiu city for 23 days until he was recaptured by a large groups of state officers.

Li and Shao were also captured. Li briefly saw Gao when he was about to be sent back to Shaanxi for detention but “the encounter was so brief that Li was unable to utter a word to Gao. Gao’s whereabouts became unknown after they parted ways,” ICC reported.

“Both Li and Shao suffered mistreatment in detention. They were shackled, rejected daily necessities, beaten, fed leftover food, and Li, who suffers from diabetes, was denied medicine for the first few days and lost his eyesight as a result.”

The Christian lawyer’s wife and representatives have not been able to confirm what exactly happened to Gao, with the Communist government sharing little information.

Concerns for Gao are rising due to his declining health, including tooth loss and other issues. The watchdog group warned that authorities might treat him even worse after this past summer’s escape.

“Though we are glad to know that Mr. Gao enjoyed brief freedom that was taken away from him for more than a decade, we are concerned about his treatment after being recaptured,” said Gina Goh, ICC’s regional manager.

“In most cases, the Chinese government treats human rights advocates and Christians on the same level as terrorists once they are imprisoned, often putting them through torture and solitary confinement. Given Gao’s successful escape, he is subject to retaliation from law enforcement,” she added.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov