Representative Christopher Smith, Chairman and Senator Sherrod Brown, Cochairman of theCongressional-Executive Commission on China announce a hearing on
"The Case and Treatment of Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng"
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
2118 Rayburn House Office Building
Today, the condition of Gao Zhisheng, one of China's most prominent human rights lawyers, remains a closely guarded secret. In December 2011, the Chinese government announced Gao would be required to serve out his earlier three-year criminal sentence, just as his sentence suspension was about to expire. Gao, a self-taught lawyer who angered Chinese authorities by exposing human rights abuses, had been missing for more than 20 months, since "reappearing" from enforced disappearance in March 2010. Chinese officials have not released any news of Gao's health or condition, and Gao's family members and lawyers have been unable to visit him.
The Commission hearing will focus on the latest announcement on Gao Zhisheng's criminal imprisonment and will address concerns over his current well-being. Witnesses, including Gao Zhisheng's wife, will address Gao's legal defense of marginalized groups in China-including religious practitioners, rural workers and human rights activists-and his enforced disappearance. Other experts will address ongoing international legal and humanitarian advocacy efforts on behalf of Gao. The hearing will also feature testimony from the wife of another prominent jailed dissident, Guo Quan, who is serving a 10-year sentence and who, like Gao, has been punished for his human rights and democracy advocacy.
Geng He, Wife of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng
Li Jing, Wife of democracy advocate Guo Quan
Jared Genser, Founder of Freedom Now and Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, LLC
Bob Fu, Founder and President of China Aid Association (CAA)
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization, is mandated by law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China, and to prepare an Annual Report to the President and Congress. The Commission by mandate also maintains a database of information on political prisoners in China-individuals who have been imprisoned by the Chinese government for exercising their civil and political rights under China's Constitution and laws or under China's international human rights obligations. The Commission's reporting and its Political Prisoner Database are available to the public online via the Commission's Web site, http://www.cecc.gov/.