China Arrests, Charges Attorney Who Helped Forced Abortion Opponent

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 12, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Arrests, Charges Attorney Who Helped Forced Abortion Opponent Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 12
, 2006

Beijing, China ( — The Chinese government has filed charges against an activist attorney who has stood up for human rights on a number of issues and also worked with other lawyers to help defend Chen Guangcheng, a blind attorney who recently was sentenced to four years in jail for exposing a brutal campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations.

A lawyer for Gao Zhisheng indicated that the Chinese government filed subversion charges against him on Thursday. The charges are the latest in the Communist nation’s efforts to crack down on dissidents.

Attorney Mo Shaoping told Reuters that Gao was arrested on September 21 "on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power." He said he has been trying to for weeks to get notification of the arrest and charges.

"In fact, it should be the public security bureau that notifies us. But I asked them repeatedly and got no reply, and only then went to the prosecutors," Mo told Reuters.

Mo said Chinese officials refused to provide him with the exact charges but said that anyone convicted of "inciting subversion" could be jailed for as long as five years.

Gao, in his 40s, has taken up numerous cases of people persecuted by the Chinese government, including Chen’s.

Chen was recently jailed for over four years on trumped up charges of inciting violence and destruction of property.

The charges came after local officials were upset by international attention Chen brought to a brutal family planning campaign. Authorities in the eastern city of Linyi forced more than 10,000 women there to submit to abortions or sterilizations and harassed, beat or jailed the families of those who tried to hide the women in question.

Since Chen talked with Time magazine and the Washington Post about the campaign, Linyi officials have confined Chen’s family to their homes and his wife Yuan was recently detained and tortured at a local police station.

Gao and other attorneys attempted to help Chen before his trial in a local court but were prevented from attending the proceedings. Chen was appointed government attorneys who knew nothing of his case and did little to defend him.