TENAFLY, NJ: Judicial authorities in Beijing have shut down the law firm of a prominent civil rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, after he refused to withdraw an open letter urging President Hu Jintao to respect freedom of religion and stop persecuting members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.
In contrast to many prominent members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) elite who have distanced themselves from fellow citizens who practice Falun Gong, Gao Zhisheng has not only turned down financial reward and close ties with the CCP but has also risked his and his family’s safety by speaking out. He had the courage to write about the severity and brutality of the persecution in an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
His letter describes the crackdown against Falun Gong as a “systematic, large-scale, and organized persecution and a barbarian atrocity,” and he tells his nation’s leaders that China “cannot accept the fact that this kind of barbarian and inhuman violence is still occurring in China in the 21st century.” He goes on to note, “The values long held by our nation” have been compromised as no nation should “be allowed to violate the human rights of its countrymen.” He urges the leaders of China to respect the rule of law and work to rebuild China based on “democracy, the rule of law, and its constitution.”
Mr. Gao observed that foreign governments that have turned a blind eye to the persecution are also at fault, reminding such governments that “it was the Jews that were massacred in countries whose governments failed to condemn Hitler.”
In response to this open letter, the Beijing Bureau of Justice issued an order prohibiting him, along with ten lawyers in his firm, from practicing law for one year. After the suspension a determination will be made concerning Mr. Gao’s legal future.
Mr. Gao himself has stated his willingness to endure any retaliation for his speaking out and promised to use any ill consequences as an opportunity to raise Chinese people’s awareness of the persecution. However, it is imperative that good people around the world indicate their dismay, concern, and alarm at the CCP’s extremely punitive actions against a lawyer upholding the principles of his profession and those of all democratic nations around the globe.
Mr. Gao’s case has been covered by prominent media and human rights organizations, including the Washington Post, The Financial Times, and Amnesty International. You can find more information about this case by visiting our website at: http://fofg.org.
Please write or call the Bureau of Justice in Beijing as well as other departments concerned with this matter and urge them to immediately stop their unconstitutional persecution of Mr. Gao, reinstate Mr. Gao’s law firm enabling him to practice law in an unhampered and safe environment.
Thank you very much for your time and support
-the volunteers at Friends of Falun Gong USA
Director of the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau
Bureau Chief Wu Yuhua
Beijing Bureau of Justice
No. 39, Houguangping Hutong, Nan Xiaojie
Xizhi Men Nei, Xicheng District,
People’s Republic of China
Tel: + 86 10 58575683
Salutation: Dear Bureau Chief
Minister Wu Aiying
Ministry of Justics of PRC
No. 10, Chaoyang Men, Nan Dajie
People’s Republic of China
Tel: + 86-10-65205114
Fax: + 86 10 6529 2345
Salutation: Dear Minister
Falun Gong is meditation and spiritual practice observed by millions around the world as a means to better health, wellness, and spiritual growth. Its teachings are based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Friends of Falun Gong USA is a human rights organization mandated to protect the rights of people who practice Falun Gong worldwide.
Please join us: http://fofg.org or call 1-800-FG-FRIEND