On August7th, 2014, After more than five years in detention, someof it in mountain torture chambers, anonymous apartment buildings cut off from his family, and most recently inthe remote Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Province, Gao Zhisheng gone of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, has been released–released but not yet free.
Gao is now under house arrest and is being denied accessto medical treatment following the horrific torture hewent through.
Gao, a self-taught human rights lawyer, was once recognized by China’s Ministry of Justice among the country’s top 10lawyers. Throughout his career, Gao constantly took upcases of the country’s most vulnerable groups, including factory workers, coal miners, victims of land seizures, fellow human rights lawyers and persecuted Christians and Falun Gong practitioners. Gao ‘s outspoken and determined advocacy led the regime to target him and persecute Gao and his family for the last decade.
Officials shut down his law firm, disbarred him and placed his wife Geng He and their young children under round-the-clock surveillance and intimidation. In December 2011, just before the expiration of Gao’s suspended sentence for “subversion” and after 20 months of having been held in unknown locations, the regime announced through Xinhua, the mouthpiece of the Communist regime, that Gao would be imprisoned for the remainder of his original sentence.
We have now learned from Gao some of the abuse and torture he has endured since his last disappearance and imprisonment. For some five years, Gao was held in a small cell, with no window, no ventilation, and only a five-watt bulb kept on around the clock. Guards were strictly instructed not to speak with him. He was not allowed any reading materials, television, radio, or access to anyone or anything. He was fed a single piece of bread and cabbage, once a day; he has lost about 50 pounds and now weighs about 130 pounds. He also lost about half his teeth, with the rest on the verge of falling out. Gao is in constant and intense pain coming from the nerve endings of exposed teeth and he is unable to sleep because of restless leg syndrome, yet here mains under house arrest and has been denied access to a dentist and a doctor.
Gao’s wife Geng He – who lives with their two children under asylum in California – is asking to allow her husband to be able to travel from China to the United States to receive medical treatment. Shortly after her husband’s release, she said “if President Xi Jinping has any sense of decency or humanity, after crushing my husband both physically and psychologically, the least he could do is allow me as a devoted wife to care for him.”