Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More news about Gao Zhisheng

At a CECC hearing yesterday in Washington, DC, John Kamm (Duihua Foundation) released the following information that he obtained from the Chinese Embassy in Washington:

"In late June, Gao Zhisheng was allowed to return to his home village in Shaanxi Province to pay his respects to his ancestors.

"He is not being mistreated and is not being subjected to coercive legal measures."

Let me add some editorial comment:

1. This is consistent with earlier news about a phone call Gao was reported to have made in July.

2. The claim that he is not being subjected to "coercive legal measures" is of course beyond laughable, and in contradiction to the notion that he was "allowed" to return to his home village. I know the old saying about a diplomat being someone who lies for his country, but I don't think they are supposed to tell you to your face that black is white and insist that it's pitch dark at high noon.

3. I suspect that the reason they are using this particular language is that it is the exercise of coercive measures (nothing about "legal" or "illegal") against the person that requires a legal basis (i.e., an appropriate document passed by the NPC or the NPC Standing Committee) and triggers various detainee rights and state duties. If there is no legal basis, then it's just kidnapping.

4. This represents some kind of progress, because at least the government is now admitting that is has information about Gao.

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