China jails 'missing' rights lawyer
Beijing - Prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been sent back to prison after a court ruled he had violated the terms of his probation, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.
The Beijing court sent him back to jail for three years after ruling he had "seriously violated probation rules a number of times", the report said.
Gao - who defended some of China's most vulnerable people including Christians and coal miners - was arrested in February 2009 and has been held incommunicado by the authorities.
He briefly reappeared in March 2010 when he was apparently released by police, speaking with a few friends and colleagues, many of whom reported that he continued to be tailed by authorities and was in ill health.
A month later, he disappeared again and has not been heard from since.
The plight of human rights activists in China has come under the spotlight since the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 was awarded to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, with the West pressing for the release of all political prisoners.
The US has raised Gao's case with Chinese authorities in the past.