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China: Religious Freedom

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has discussed the case of Mr Gao Zhisheng with the Chinese Government; and if he will make a statement. (323748)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the case of Gao Zhisheng with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi during his recent visit to China. Yang denied that Gao had been tortured or his rights violated, but provided no further information on his case. Later, at a press conference, Yang said that Gao had been sentenced to prison on subversion charges. He gave no details of the charges against Gao, or the length of his sentence.

We remain concerned about the case of Gao Zhisheng and the continuing uncertainty over his whereabouts. I released a statement on 3 February urging the Chinese Government to provide accurate information on Gao's situation to ease the concerns of his family and friends and to provide reassurance about his condition. The EU also issued a statement, expressing their concerns over Gao's disappearance on 9 February. We will continue to raise his case at every appropriate opportunity.