Yulin, Shaanxi – Authorities imprisoned two friends of a prominent Christian human rights lawyer after they rescued him from his home in China’s northwestern Shaanxi province. Recently, one was criminally detained.
After learning Gao Zhisheng wished to escape from his government minders in the neighboring Shaanxi province, Shao Zhongguo and Li Fawang sneaked him over the provincial border to a vacation spot in their home province, Shanxi. For 23 days, they hid, successfully evading authorities until police officers from Shaanxi mobilized a large number of officers to cross the border find him. Once in police custody, Gao vanished, and Shao and Li were both criminally detained.
Since that time, Shao’s family has not received any legal documents announcing his detention, and his wife recently learned that he had been formally arrested on unknown charges. No one has seen him since his detention, which greatly worries his wife. She asked the detention center, located in Yulin, Shaanxi if lawyers could visit him, but her request was denied.
She is currently researching the legality of denying her any legal notices and trying to decide who is responsible for distributing them. If they do not provide the documents, she will determine whether or not to go to Shaanxi and seek other options.
Even though Li recently obtained his freedom, he recounted severe mistreatment at the hands of authorities. While imprisoned, the Ministry of Public Security ordered that he must be shackled, and he was not provided daily necessities, nor was he able to brush his teeth for many days. He suffers from diabetes, but officials did not allow him to seek medical treatment for the first few days. As a result, his eye started bleeding, and he could not see.
Both Li and Shao were taken to the Jia County Detention Center but housed in different cells.
Li said that Gao had no teeth and had not eaten a decent meal for three years because of constant bleeding and toothaches. He had originally arranged for Gao to receive dental treatment, but Gao refused to go for fear that he would be found.
Gao is still missing. Weeks after authorities re-captured him, they claimed he was held in the custody of secret agents in Beijing, but no one has seen him.