Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gao Zhisheng visited by family in prison

Gao with his family in January 2009.
Photo: ChinaAid
The relatives of prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng have finally been allowed to visit him in prison, reports VOM partner, ChinaAid.

The visit has put to rest fears that the pioneer in the growing Christian legal defense movement in the country had died during the two-plus years of his forced disappearance into police custody.

Gao’s older brother and his father-in-law were permitted a half-hour meeting with Gao on March 24 at the Shaya prison, in a remote part of Xinjiang in far western China. They were able to see each other through a glass window and converse using a prison phone.

Gao’s wife, Geng He, recently telephoned ChinaAid’s founder and president Rev. Bob Fu confirming the meeting and providing details. She said that her husband broke into tears when her father told Gao, “My health is greatly improved now that I have seen you.”

Gao, who has disappeared into police custody several times since 2006, was last seen by his family members in April 2010 when he briefly resurfaced after a previous long period of disappearance.  During that time, he gave an extensive interview to the Associated Press in which he gave a detailed account of brutal torture inflicted on him by Chinese police.

Gao’s wife said he looked fine during the weekend prison visit, which was conducted under the watchful eye of prison officials and Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials. The PSB instructed Gao’s family members not to talk to the outside world about the visit.

PSB officers from Gao’s hometown in Shaanxi province had accompanied Gao’s older brother, Gao Zhiyi, on the entire trip from central China, a journey of more than 3,000 kilometres to Shaya.

Gao’s brother cried a lot and said to Gao's wife, “I am relieved after finally being able to see that he is at least alive.”

Thank the Lord that Gao was able to visit with his family! Please also consider writing a letter to Gao, reminding him that many around the world are praying for him.

Gao Zhisheng
Shaya Prison
Shaya County Aksu Prefecture
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Please note: When writing a letter, never mention the name of the source of your information or the name of any organization such as Voice of the Martyrs or Prisoner Alert. It is not dangerous for a prisoner to receive letters from individuals, but if an organization is mentioned they may be accused of links with “foreign organizations” and receive harsher sentences. Also, please do not state anything negative about their government. For more information on letter writing, please click here. To create a letter using phrases in Gao’s own language, click here.

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