No More Chinese Communist Party

April 4, 2009

Chinese rights lawyer’s family makes dramatic escape

Filed under: Uncategorized — carryanne @ 10:46 pm

The wife and children of leading Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng have escaped from close police surveillance and travelled via Thailand to the United States, a friend and rights groups said Friday. Gao’s wife, Geng He, their 15-year-old daughter and five-year-old son walked into Thailand after fleeing from virtual house arrest in Beijing and crossing a border from southern China, sources said. It was not clear how the family crossed into Thailand, which has no border with China but is accessible via Laos and Myanmar A supporter told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that Geng and her family were staying in Phoenix, Arizona. “She’s very tired and can’t talk now,” the supporter said by telephone from Phoenix. US-based Christian support group China Aid said it helped the family to travel to Phoenix via Los Angeles. “We are very thrilled to see their safe arrival to this free nation,” Bob Fu, China Aid’s president, said in a statement. US-funded Radio Free Asia said Geng and her children arrived in the United States on Wednesday to seek asylum. “I left China because my family had been under tight surveillance for a long time,” Geng told the broadcaster. “We experienced in our careers and daily life great hardship and difficulty.” Her daughter “tried to commit suicide several times” because she was unable to attend school, Geng said. Radio Free Asia said the trio left China on Jan 9, arrived in Thailand on Jan 16, before travelling to the United States. Geng said they left Beijing by train but that Gao could not travel with them because he was unable to evade his tighter surveillance by state security police. China Aid and other rights groups said they have heard no news of Gao, who was nominated for last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, since police detained him on Feb 4. Geng said she and her children eluded their Chinese surveillance team with the help of friends who were members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, whose legal rights Gao has supported. “It was extraordinarily difficult to get us out of China,” she told Radio Free Asia. “The friends who helped us escape took enormous pains, some even risking their own lives.” Gao, 44, is a self-taught lawyer who built a reputation as a stout defender of people who suffered injustices at the hands of Chinese government officials and the police. He was not afraid to take on the most sensitive cases despite threats, violence and imprisonment by the authorities under China’s ruling Communist Party. In recent years, Gao often called China’s one-party rulers “barbaric” and likened them to “Mafia bosses.” He campaigned on behalf of protesting farmers, dissidents, Christians, AIDS activists and fellow rights lawyers. Gao also came into conflict with police and state security officers through public complaints about constant surveillance and harassment. An English translation of his book, A China More Just, was published in 2007. The government closed his Beijing-based Shengzhi law firm in 2005 after he called via the internet for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong members who were sent to a re-education camp. It tried to silence him by passing a three-year suspended prison sentence for subversion at a closed trial in December 2006.



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