Cohen highlights Chinese lawyer's disappearance in International Herald Tribune op-ed

In a March 18 op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, Professor Jerome Cohen and co-author Beth Schwanke recounted the story of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was “disappeared” by the Chinese government in February 2009, and urged officials to follow the rule of law.

Recounting details of Gao’s background, persecution, and torture as well as the government’s failure to release basic details about Gao’s current condition and whereabouts, the co-authors called for Gao’s release: “Regardless of where Mr. Gao is or of any new alleged conviction, the Chinese government must follow its own law and release him because his detention violates its own criminal procedures. Beyond violations of procedural law, however, the government’s misconduct violates his rights guaranteed both by the Chinese Constitution and international law.”

Should the government choose not to release Gao, Cohen and Schwanke said, it should at least exhibit greater transparency: “So, we instead also ask the government to do something much easier—produce Mr. Gao to an impartial observer, such as an official from the United Nations or the International Committee of the Red Cross, to verify his well-being, provide details of Mr. Gao’s alleged conviction for ‘subversion,’ and provide family access.”

Posted on March 19, 2010