Zhisheng, Gao (People’s Republic of China)
Gao Zhisheng was born in 1966 in Shaanxi, China. He is currently one of the leading human rights activists in China and is often fought against by the Chinese government. He especially supports the most oppressed groups in China, such as the members of the forbidden spiritual movement, Falun Gong.
Despite threats on the part of the Chinese government, Gao Zhisheng has continued to legally support those who have experienced human rights violations. Among these people are human rights activists, and members of unofficial Christian churches, as well as citizens faced with deportation by the state, and other acts which violate their rights.
His law office was closed in 2005. The government justified their actions by claiming that he had neglected to inform them of a change of address. After this occurrence, Zhisheng and his family were under constant surveillance by government representatives. He was imprisoned many times, and personally reported that he was tortured while in jail.
In August 2006, after long questioning by the security forces, and secret service Zhisheng was abducted without being accused of a crime. On September 21, he was officially charged with „subversion.“ In late 2006 he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment due to subversion, which actually ended up lasting for five years. Zhisheng was unable to take part in the Bruno Kreisky Prize Ceremony, due to his political situation. The latest disappearance of Zhisheng at the beginning of 2009 caused an international outcry. Foreign governments pressured the Chinese government to let his location be known. It was not until August 7th 2014 that he was released from the Shaya prison in the Xinjiang province.