China Aid Association learned that November 4, 2005, a top law firm in Beijing known for defending human rights was ordered closed for one year by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice.
According to reliable reports, Mr. Gao Zhisheng, the director of Beijing Shengzhi Law Firm, received a formal government notice that all of his law firm operations are suspended for one year. Hours before receiving the closure notice, Mr. Gao filed parole documents with the Beijing People’s Court of Haidian District for Ms. Xiao Yunfei, the wife of jailed house church leader Pastor Cai Zhuohua. He is one of the defense lawyers for Pastor Cai, his wife Ms. Xiao Yunfei and two other family members who were arrested last September. The Chinese government accused them of “illegal business practices” for printing and distributing hundreds of thousands of copies of the Bible and other Christian literature. They are being held following their trial and awaiting a verdict.
In an interview with Bob Fu, president of CAA the morning of November 4 following the parole paper filing he stated that the arrests of Pastor Cai and other family members and the more than one year continuous detention following a trial without a verdict is illegal according to Chinese law.
It’s widely believed that the retributive actions taken against Mr. Gao and his law firm by the Chinese government is due to his active role in defending human rights and religious freedom cases like Pastor Cai’s case. He also defended several other high profile cases including persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. After days of intensive investigations and interviews with numerous victims, he issued an open letter to both Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao a few weeks ago demanding that they stop persecuting peaceful Falun Gong practitioners.
“It is a very dark day and a devastating blow to the rule of law in China,” said Bob Fu, President of CA. “Instead of holding the human rights and religious freedom violators accountable, the Chinese government chooses to suppress these conscientious defenders of human rights.”
People of conscience around the world are urged to pray for and protest against the barbaric actions by these related government agencies.
Emails and phone calls of encouragement can be sent at the following address:
Mr. Gao Zhisheng (???) +86-10-81990759 Email: email@example.com
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