Beijing: The official news agency Xinhua reported that the arrest of forty two year old Gao Zhisheng was announced in a brief statement by police in Beijing. “Suspicion of entanglement with criminal activities” was cited as a reason for the arrest.
In the past, Gao had been involved in the defence of Christians and Internet dissidents. In addition, he complained about the torture of Falun Gong practitioners, a movement that is prohibited in the People's Republic. He was disbarred last November and placed under police surveillance.
Gao's arrest came right before the start of the trial against the blind human rights activist Chen Guangchen whose interests Gao was representing. Attorney Zhang Lihui commented that Gao's arrest was designed to hinder Chen's defense. Zhang and a third lawyer were themselves interrogated for three hours yesterday.
Chen thirty four is scheduled to appear in court today. The blind activist from Shandong Province had been documenting reports of villagers about forced abortions and steriliSations. He was imprisoned for allegedly 'damaging property' and 'illegal assembly.
SPIEGEL ONLINE August 18th, 2006
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