Mr. Gao... is one of the most well-known dissidents in China. An outspoken government critic... he has taken on cases that many Chinese lawyers would not dare touch. --The New York Times
Often it is the lawyers who are in the front line of freedom and this is the difficult position that Gao Zhisheng has occupied in China. His story is a reminder of how far China has to go to achieve some degree of justice and respect for individual freedom, and how much it will owe Gao Zhisheng and people like him when it eventually gets there. --Professor Conor Gearty, Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics
Gao Zhisheng is a man who represents China's Rights Defense movement. The work of Mr. Gao and fellow rights defenders has seriously shaken the oppressive political system of the Chinese Communist Party... Their work has brought hope to distressed and poverty-stricken people in China. Reading this collection helps to better understand him and the cause of rights defenders. --Wei Jingsheng, prominent democracy activist who served 18 years in Chinese prisons
About the Author
Gao Zhisheng rose from utter poverty to become one of China s most acclaimed lawyers and a leading advocate for the oppressed. Life took a most unlikely turn in 1991 when Gao happened to learn, while selling vegetables by the roadside, that the country was looking to train new lawyers. Though possessed only a middle-school education, Gao taught himself law and passed the national bar examination in 1995.
Gao made headlines in 1999 by winning the largest medical malpractice lawsuit in Chinese history. In 2001, China's Ministry of Justice named him one of the nation's top-ten attorneys. A Christian, Gao has since become known for his tenacious pursuit of justice on behalf of China's most vulnerable from exploited coal miners to democracy advocates, the poor, and victims of religious persecution.
In 2005 Gao wrote a series of open letters to China s authorities detailing his investigation into the torture of members of the Falun Gong. Thereafter he found himself besieged, as he put it, by infuriated Party rulers. Gao's Beijing law firm was soon after shut down, his family put under surveillance, and attempts made on his life. In 2006 he initiated a series of hunger strikes that involved thousands worldwide.
Gao's maltreatment by the Chinese regime has been the subject of formal resolutions by the United States Congress and the European Parliament. Rights groups such as Amnesty International have campaigned to ensure his welfare. He has been featured by The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and many other prominent media.
In 2006 Gao became the recipient of the Chinese Liberal Culture Movement's Special Human Rights Award, the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Foundation's Human Rights Champion Award, and in 2007 was awarded the American Board of Trial Advocates Courageous Advocacy Award. He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.