March 12, 2011
For Immediate Release
CUSIB Joins Efforts to Free Gao Zhisheng
On Sunday, March 11, 2011 the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) Executive Director Ann Noonan attended the “Global Mission to Free Gao Zhisheng” sponsored by Chinese dissident Tang Baiqiao held at the Democracy University Chamber in Flushing, New York.
This event, broadcast live over the internet, demonstrated concern for the perilous situation faced by Gao Zhisheng, a prisoner of conscience in China who has had no contact with the outside world since February, 2009.
Ms. Noonan’s presentation focused on Mr. Gao’s fight to seek social justice through legal means: “His disappearance represents a grave denial of rights to a Chinese citizen who has dared to speak up about injustice.”
She also stressed CUSIB’s adamant opposition to proposals by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. federal government agency, to eliminate Voice of America (VOA) Tibetan Radio (in Tibet) and to eliminate Voice of America’s Cantonese Service: “Now is not the time to cut any communication to people in China and Tibet who seek basic human rights and religious freedom and rely upon the United States to show that their plight has not been ignored and to encourage them to speak up and advocate despite the oppression.”
Other noteworthy speakers included Dr. Li Dayong, Party Vice-Chairman of the Global Service Center; John Kusimi, China Support Network; Cao Jintao, Chinese Coalition for Citizens’ Rights; artist and PEN author Huang Xiang, poetRichard “Zhisheng” Yang.
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB), www.cusib.org, is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization working to strengthen free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries with restricted media environments.
For further information contact CUSIB co-founder Ted Lipien (415) 793-1642.
Read the full text of Ann Noonan’s presentation Free Gao Zhisheng:
Free Gao Zhisheng
By Ann Noonan
Sunday, March 11, 2011
Gao Zhisheng has been missing for 1131 Days.
On behalf of Free Church for China, I am here to call upon China’s government to release Chinese Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng immediately.
Mr. Gao has fought against the violence of China’s Communist Party through legal means. He has fought to “restore human rights in China”. In 2001, even the PRC’s Justice Ministry recognized him as one of the “Ten Outstanding Lawyers in China”. Mr. Gao has been preeminent as one seeking social justice through legal means.
In the legal community, Mr. Gao has been known for the free legal service he provided to people in China. He was born poor, and sympathized with the needs of the poor. In his first two years as a lawyer, Mr. Gao compiled a lengthy dossier about the PRC’s persecution of house church Christians in China: Protestants arrested and accused of terrorism, elderly believers tortured in prison, and so on. Mr. Gao was so moved by their testimonies that he embraced the Christian faith.
Mr. Gao provided legal defense for marginalized groups in China, including religious practitioners, rural workers and human rights activists.
Mr. Gao has endured some of the most brutal conditions imaginable in China’s prisons. Reports about Mr. Gao’s arrests and detentions detail violent beatings, electrical shocks applied to his body, and having his eyes burnt by lit cigarettes. This pattern of torture and abuse by PRC officials cause great concern by all since his most recent arrest and disappearance.
We remain alarmed by the lack of access to him by diplomats, concerned citizens, and his family. We continue to raises serious questions about his health and safety.
His disappearance represents a grave denial of rights to a Chinese citizen who has dared to speak up about injustice.
As a Catholic, I pray for Mr. Gao. I pray for his wife and his children who now live in the US and applaud their love and their courage as to continue to pursue justice for their loved one.
I urge all to check the FreeGao.org website and get involved.
I also urge all to contact Members of Congress, in particular the Members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs to enact and support an amendment to save Voice of America’s Tibetan Radio Services and Cantonese Services.
As you may know the Broadcasting Board of Governors has proposed cuts to eliminate these services from Voice of America.
Now is not the time to cut any communication to people in China and Tibet who seek basic human rights and religious freedom and rely upon the United States to show that their plight has not been ignored and to encourage them to speak up and advocate despite the oppression.
As the Executive Director for the Committee for US International Broadcasting, I invite you all to please visit CUSIB.org website and sign our petition.
Thank you again for welcoming me to speak here today.