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Chinese lawyer detained for sending letter to US Congress

[JURIST] Chinese lawyer and outspoken critic of the Chinese government Gao Zhisheng [JURIST news archive] has been arrested again, this time for writing a letter to the US Congress asking the US to help the human rights situation in his home country, a friend of Gao said Tuesday. According to people close to Gao, he was taken from his home by police on Saturday, five days after he warned friends that police had threatened to arrest him if he made any public statements. Police arrested him for violating the conditions of his parole, which took away any political rights, including the rights to free speech and protest.

Gao is on parole for a conviction [JURIST report] of "conspiring to topple" the government of China [JURIST news archive] by writing nine "defamatory" articles posted on international websites. He received a three-year suspended sentence [JURIST report] and was put under house arrest with no telephone and limited access to the outside world. Rights groups have recently slammed China [JURIST report] for not keeping its promises to improve human rights and press freedom in preparation for the 2008 Olympics [official website]. In August, Reporters Without Borders [advocacy website] demonstrated in Beijing in protest of the continued detention of nearly 100 journalists and activists. AP has more.

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