According to the Agence France Press, the Chinese police who took prominent lawyer Gao Zhisheng into custody have informed Mr. Gao's brother that Mr. Gao is "missing." This has prompted speculation that Mr.Gao may have died from torture in the course of interrogation.
February 3: A very distrubing article about this has come out in the New York Times: "Diplomatic entreaties to the Chinese government have been brushed aside. Foreign reporters who ask about his plight have been treated to glib retorts. Ma Zhaoxu, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, compounded the mystery two weeks ago by saying that Mr. Gao “is where he should be.” When prodded again at a regular press briefing last Tuesday, he offered ... a smile and said: “Honestly speaking, I don’t know where he is. China has 1.3 billion people and I can’t know all of their whereabouts.”
Legal experts say the disappearance of Mr. Gao, whose case has been championed by American lawmakers, several European leaders and the United Nations, represents a disturbing milestone. Even in the most politicized cases, the Chinese authorities generally claim to be complying with their own criminal procedure laws. Mr. Gao has vanished with no official accounting or legal explanation."