Chinese authorities have arrested human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng for allegedly inciting subversion. Mr. Gao is known for his efforts to defend human rights and labor activists, victims of official corruption and members of unauthorized religious organizations, including adherents of China's house churches.
The arrest of Mr. Gao marks another step in an apparent trend to prosecute or otherwise harass lawyers and human rights activists who have sought to protect citizens' rights using China's courts and through publicity campaigns.
Earlier this year, Mr. Gao organized a rolling hunger strike to protest police harassment of political activists. He also campaigned to win the release of Chen Guangcheng, a legal activist who had worked to uncover abuses in China' birth limitation practices. Mr. Chen, who is blind, was sentenced to more than four years in jail in August on questionable charges of obstructing traffic and damaging public property.
No specific accusations have been leveled against Mr. Gao, although authorities, citing public security laws, have reportedly prevented his attorneys from meeting with him. Under Chinese law, those convicted of inciting subversion can be jailed for up to five years.
The United States, said U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey, urges "the Chinese government to respect the rights of their citizens to advocate peacefully for the rights of their fellow citizens. . . .No one," said Mr. Casey, "should suffer for simply expressing their views, for raising concerns about government policies, and for advocating for the redress of grievances."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.