Gao Zhisheng was named one of the PRC's top 10 lawyers by the Ministry of Justice in 2001 (https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/world/asia/03dissident.html) and was one of 14 PRC civil rights lawyers named Asia Weekly's "People of the Year" in 2005: https://twitter.com/wafarris/status/1553555033282977792.
Gao Zhisheng and his law firm defended clients in many seminal civil rights cases, such as the 2005 prosecution of Xiao Yunfei for publishing Christian literature without government authorization. A translation of her court judgment can be found here: https://ssrn.com/abstract=416841. In 2006, Gao Zhisheng was sentenced to 3 years in prison, suspended, and 5 years probation for subversion of state power after he launched a hunger strike. Two of his announcement that were published online are translated below. More information about civil rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng can be found here:
- Almost Every Major Chinese Internet Company Bans Searches for Gao Zhisheng: http://blog.feichangdao.com/2013/05/almost-every-major-chinese-internet.html
- Global Times: Gao Zhisheng's "Name Is Blocked On the Web." Meanwhile, Baidu Stops Showing Censorship Notice for Searches for "Gao Zhisheng": http://blog.feichangdao.com/2014/08/global-times-gao-zhishengs-name-is.html
Proposal for the Formation of a Hunger Strike Solidarity Group
Author: Gao Zhisheng, et. al.
(February 4, 2006)
Over the past few years, all parts of China have been constantly shocked by the despicable incidents of government leadership deploying brutal and malicious means to undertake illegal and brutal beatings, kidnappings, detentions, and even killings of citizens who were peacefully defending their rights in accordance with the law. This is an inevitable phenomenon of barbaric dictatorship and tyranny in their dying stages. In this uncivilized and immoral system that despises the basic dignity of human beings, the corrupt judicial system itself is the most ferocious organic component of this evil force opposing human civilization. The public security, procuratorial, and legal systems are absurd, but under this system, they have inevitably become the most murderous thugs who violently stifle and block citizens' legal demands. The environment for citizens to protect their rights according to law has deteriorated sharply in the past six months. The underworld forces in the Guangdong provincial government are arrogant and conceited in their brutal and violent acts against peaceful citizens defending their rights. The value of legal restraint is completely absent, and the central government has kept silent, making the underworld forces against human civilization in Guangdong Province even more reckless. Lawyers were violently beaten, lawyer Guo Yan was violently beaten, villagers in Taishi Village were violently beaten, and more than a dozen villagers were illegally detained along with Guo Feixiong. Since then, barbaric violence under the leadership of the government has spread everywhere. Xin, Qi Zhiyong, Xu Zhiyong, Hu Jia, Li Fang and other famous human rights activists have been violently beaten, Gao Zhisheng was repeatedly threatened with violence, and Chen Guangcheng of Shandong was violently beaten. In the past two days, the underworld forces in Guangdong, with the secret police as the main body, have conducted themselves like thugs and repeatedly surrounded Guo Feixiong's family, followed his wife, surrounded his children to take pictures, videotaped, violently beat Tang Jingling, and knocked around Guo Feixiong himself.. Shandong citizen Chen Hua was savagely beaten for visiting Chen Guangcheng, a blind man who had been surrounded for months by underworld forces dominated by secret police in Shandong province during the Chinese New Year.
Given this rapidly deteriorating environment for rights defense, and given that the judiciary has completely become the most ferocious reactionary force that prevents citizens from safeguarding their basic human rights, and given that the persecution of individual citizens by domestic underworld forces has reached the point of lawlessness and unscrupulousness, with the persecuted individuals currently being completely isolated and helpless, we advocated and initiated the formation of a human rights hunger strike solidarity group (hereinafter referred to as the Solidarity Group). The purpose is, from the date of the formation of the Solidarity Group, to use hunger strikes to express solidarity with any citizens at home and abroad who are subjected to violence and illegal persecution. That is to say, it is a hunger strike to express solidarity against the illegal persecution, violent beating of domestic workers, peasants, intellectuals, free believers and members of various groups of the party, government, military and police (including petitioners and pro-democracy activists everywhere) and the brutal persecution of foreign citizens (such as the brutal persecution of North Korean refugees by the Chinese government in the last two years).
This hunger strike will not take into account nationality, race, region, creed, education, or wealth. The form of hunger strike is carried out in various locations. The members of the Solidarity Group may be concentrated in an appropriate location, and in each location (such as the Shengzhi Law Firm in Beijing) each member should participate in a one-day hunger strike at each location. After a 5-day hunger strike is relayed in one location, it will be relayed to another location (for example, after the 5-day hunger strike in Beijing, it can be relayed by a certain location in Shaanxi Province, and a hunger strike diary will be released to the world every day, such as: The persecution incident of so-and-so, the hunger strike diary in Beijing area Announcement 1...) Any member who participates in the hunger strike Solidarity Group, as well as any non-member, who is brutally persecuted, violently beaten, or illegally arrested by the uncivilized evil forces will trigger a relay hunger strike solidarity process. The relay hunger strike for each victim must be carried out in locations where there are members of the hunger strike Solidarity Group all over the country. While the illegal persecution continues, the relay hunger strike solidarity action will be repeated.
When the membership of the Human Rights Hunger Strike Support Group have reached a certain size, the method and venue of the relay hunger strike can be adjusted for situations like the Shanwei Murder Incident.
All domestic and foreign members who voluntarily join the Solidarity Group please sign to confirm:
Gao Zhisheng, Ma Wendu, Guo Feixiong, Zhao Xin, Hu Jia, Qi Zhiyong, Wang Guoqi, Qian Yumin, Ren Wanding, Jia Jianying, Yang Jing, Li Hai, Gao Jie (Japan), Teng Biao (Gao Zhisheng OBO), Li Heping ( Gao Zhisheng OBO), Tian Yongde (Inner Mongolia), Du Daobin (Wuhan), Cai Chu (USA)
最近几年来，中国各地不断惊现在政府主导下的、以凶残下流的黑社会手段，非法野蛮殴打、绑架、拘禁甚至杀害依法和平维权公民的恶劣事件。这是野蛮的专制独裁暴政至垂死期的必有现象，在这种蔑视人类基本尊严的、反文明的、反道德的体制中，腐败司法制度本身既是这种反人类文明的邪恶力量中的最凶残的有机组成部份。公、检、法荒诞地、却又是在这种制度下必然地成了暴力扼杀、阻绝公民法律诉求的最为凶残的打手，公民依法维权的环境近半年来急剧的恶化，太石村事件中，广东省政府中的黑恶势力，针对和平维权公民凶残施暴的气焰嚣张无羁。法律对之的制约价值完全缺位，中央政府又默不作声，使广东省反人类文明的黑恶势力更加肆无忌惮，各地邪恶势力纷纷起而效法，继而发生了艾晓明教授被暴力殴打，唐荆陵律师被暴力殴打、郭艳律师被暴力殴打、太石村村民被暴力殴打，十几名村民和郭飞熊一道被非法关押，此后，在政府主导下的野蛮暴力之风在各地蔓延，相继有北京的赵昕、齐志勇、许志永、胡佳、李方平等著名维权人士被暴力殴打，高智晟被多次以暴力相威胁，山东的陈光诚被暴力殴打。最近两天里，广东的以秘密警察为主体的黑恶势力再次作出了包围郭飞熊的家庭、跟踪他的夫人、围住他的孩子拍照、摄像，暴力殴打唐荆陵，推搡郭飞熊本人的流氓行径。山东公民陈华因过年去探望被山东省以秘密警察为主的黑恶势力包围了数月之久的盲人陈光诚而遭到野蛮殴打。 (博讯 boxun.com)
Gao Zhisheng's Urgent Statement Regarding the Hunger Strike to Defend Human Rights and Resist Violence
(February 18, 2006)
From February 18, 2006, 6:00 am to 6:00 am on the 19th, I will be on a 24-hour hunger strike in my office.
1. To express solidarity with my compatriots who have been illegally detained and persecuted by the Chinese government because of their hunger strikes in their own homes.
2. To protest the Chinese government's illegal actions, brutally trampling upon the civilized consensus of human society and basic human dignity, and protest the government's barbaric trampling upon China's Constitution, and serious violations of the rights of my family by extremely malicious means.
Merely because I proposed a hunger strike to defend human rights and resist violence, the government of China recently embarked upon a brutal, maddening, and lawless persecution of the disenfranchised Chinese people who participated in the hunger strike and my entire family, which has reached disgraceful proportions. A large number of citizens who participated in the hunger strike were illegally detained, jailed, beaten and placed under house arrest. On February 16, following the disappearance of Qi Zhiyong and the Hu family, three of my staff members were illegally kidnapped by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. Among them, Ouyang Xiaorong, as a volunteer who helped me, arrived in Beijing and in less than 24 hours he was illegally kidnapped, and is still missing. After being illegally detained for more than ten hours, my assistant, lawyer Wen Haibo, was placed under house arrest indefinitely and could not meet with me. My home phone, office phone, fax and computer network are cut off (the computer network is now cut off every 1-2 minutes); my family is surrounded, followed, and harassed 24 hours a day. Official power has been so shameless that it has completely invaded the private life of my family!
In view of the current reality of violence and terror, in view of the brutal situation that the brave citizens participating in hunger strikes are being brutally persecuted by the Chinese government, and in view of the illegal deprivation of my working conditions as a volunteer for human rights protection and anti-violence, I hereby make the following special forms of hunger strike for human rights protection in the future. Emergency declaration:
1. From today onwards, I will personally go on a 24-hour hunger strike every Saturday in my office.
2. In view of the government's lawlessness and thuggish violence, I propose that from now on, domestic citizens can join the hunger strike voluntarily (the phone number may not be announced), or they can join the hunger strike by using a pseudonym; those who participate in the hunger strike with a single pseudonym will be listed for the sake of their continued hunger strike, on the condition they will be recorded as not participating in the hunger strike. (The original hunger strike relay in Hunan, Shandong, and Guizhou provinces was changed to a spontaneous decision.)
3. For the hunger strike every Saturday, I will personally publish a hunger strike log containing the names (including pseudonyms) of spontaneous hunger strikers across the country.
4. In the future, whenever there are massacres and bloody violence against citizens, or serious judicial persecution and political persecution by the government, I will resolutely launch a nationwide hunger strike and protest in due course.
5. I would like to express my special thanks to Mr. Ho Chun-yan, a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and a well-known lawyer. Mr. Ho expressed his solidarity with our tragic hunger strike every Wednesday with a 24-hour hunger strike. My respects to him.