Human rights activist Hu Jia sent on Twitter greeting to the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng for his birthday: “In the distant Xinjiang Aksu, there is a prison in the desert where human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng is detained. For eight years, he did not live a day of peace and free life”.
Gao’s wife, Geng He, spoke to media, saying: “Your 50th birthday is coming, and we all miss you greatly and hope to see you on your birthday. It would be quite a relief for us all. We are all thinking about you and love you!”
Years of detention by Chinese regime
Gao is a self-taught lawyer. His life is the stuff of legends. He was born in a cave in the village of Shanbei in the northern Shaanxi Province and grew up in abject poverty. In the minds of the many desperate people in need of legal assistance, Gao commanded a status like no other.
At the end of 2004, Gao became famous after he wrote a letter to China’s National Peoples’ Congress revealing the terrible, horrible persecution of Falun Gong in China. He was put under surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
His courage and persistence against the communist regime is unbelievable. He went on to write a second and third letter, after investigating Falun Gong practitioners tortured by the CCP for their belief.
In his book “A China More Just” published in 2006, Gao Zhisheng wrote that the Communist Party uses, “the most savage, most immoral, and most illegal means to torture our mothers, torture our wives, torture our children, and torture our brothers and sisters…” Gao wrote the book after he spent several months investigating the techniques of torture used by the Communist Party against adherents of Falun Gong.
He was arrested in August 2006 and was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2006 for ‘inciting subversion’. Since his first imprisonment, Gao was in and out of the hands of Chinese security forces, frequently captured and held incommunicado for months before being released briefly, only to be kidnapped again.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch “Gao detailed his illegal detention in 2007 as well as severe and sustained torture at the hands of security agents—including violent beatings, repeated electric shocks to his genitals, and having lit cigarettes held close to his eyes over a prolonged period, which left him partially blind for days afterwards. After he was released, acquaintances described him as seeming to be ‘a broken man’ both physically and spiritually.”
Gao has been again in the near-constant custody of Chinese security forces since February 2009, and has been repeatedly denied visits by family. Chinese authorities have not disclosed his location.
Gao Zhisheng’s wife, Geng He and their two children fled from China in March 2009 and are now living in the US.
On April 7, 2010, Gao appeared in Beijing and was interviewed by the Associated Press, “the police stripped Gao Zhisheng bare and pummeled him with handguns in holsters. For two days and nights, they took turns beating him and did things he refused to describe”.
Paul Mooney was a China Journalist; in April 2010 he had a conversation with Gao and reported him saying, “My freedom now has come at the cost of engaging in some lies. This is something that has really put a lot of pressure on me mentally and my sense of morality. If it were not for my family, I could not do this.”
In December 2011, Gao has been officially sentenced to prison for three years.
Quit CCP statement
Currently, Gao is being held at the remote Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Province, and nobody has been able to reach him for over 15 months.
In 2005, Gao declared that he quit the cruel, untrustworthy, inhumane, and evil communist party saying: “This is the proudest day of my life”.
Many ordinary Chinese citizens have called Gao the backbone or conscience of China.
Transcending Fear documentary
The documentary “Transcending Fear”, produced by Wenjing Ma, Paul Wilson-Young, and Fabio Emma in the studios of New Tang Dynasty television, tells the story of Gao’s life and his disappearance.
The movie was recently invited for a screening at the Press Club at Brussels, where the EU headquarters are also located. Many senior reporters, representatives from human rights organizations and leaders of NGOs, were very much moved by Gao’s story in this documentary.
Alexandra Clark, an Assistant to Edward McMillan Scott, a Vice-President of the European Parliament stated, “Transcending Fear — the story of Gao Zhisheng — is a story that every one of us in this world should know about.”