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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

UN expert concerned about missing Chinese lawyer

March 17, 2010

The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A U.N. torture investigator said Wednesday he is very concerned about the
fate of missing Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng and believes he has been
severely tortured.

Gao, known for defending people belonging to persecuted minorities, has been
missing for more than a year.

"We don't know where he is," said Manfred Nowak, an independent U.N. expert
investigating alleged cases of torture.

"I'm very concerned," he told reporters. "I have repeatedly asked the
Chinese government to provide me with information, but I have not received
any clear answer."

Nowak said he met Gao on a visit to China in November 2005 during which they
were harassed by state security officials. "He was under heavy, heavy
pressure."

Gao, who took up sensitive cases defending prominent people in Tibet,
Xinyiang, Uighurs, members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group and
followers of Christian groups, had been arrested several times before, Nowak
said.

"He was, according to my information, severely tortured," Nowak said.

Separately, an international group of lawyers said the U.N. Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention should declare Gao's disappearance a violation of
international law.

The U.N. panel, which has no enforcement powers, could not be reached for
comment Wednesday.
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