They Cry in Silence Nov/Dec 2014

The nightmare continues for prominent Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng and his family. When Gao was released from prison in China on August 7, no one heard anything from him. His family had telephone conversations with him, but they didn’t hear much from him either.

Now it has become clear that isolation and torture have left Gao unable to speak coherently. China Aid reports, “Gao has been utterly destroyed. He can barely talk, and only in very short sentences. Most of the time he mutters and is unintelligible. It is believed he is suffering from a broad range of physical and mental health problems; he has not been allowed to see a doctor since his release.”

As his wife, Geng He, told the Los Angeles Times, if he cannot even obtain adequate dental care, what hope does he have for obtaining help to recover his mental health? While she and their two children escaped to the United States in 2009 and live in California, Gao is under virtual house arrest at his sister-in-law’s in China’s far west. Dentists there do not have the means to repair the damage malnutrition did to his remaining teeth, and the government forbids him to travel to Beijing, much less to the United States to be reunited with his family.

Gao’s advocacy for religious minorities led to his conviction in 2006 for “inciting subversion,” and in 2007 he began serving a previously suspended three-year prison sentence. After he wrote an open letter to the U.S. Congress about human rights abuses in China, authorities abducted him and tortured him for more than 50 days. Gao later revealed his captors shocked his genitals with an electric baton and pierced them with toothpicks.

“As with the torture experienced during his pretrial detention, the purpose of this mistreatment was to extract a false confession,” noted Freedom Now, which works to free prisoners of conscience.

Thugs suspected of being state agents again abducted Gao on February 4, 2009. He reportedly reappeared from  March 28 to April 20, 2010, during which he described how police beat him for two days and nights, according to Freedom Now.

China announced on December 16, 2011, that it would take him to prison to serve the three-year sentence imposed in 2006, thus withdrawing the five-year probation. In prison since December 2011, Gao remained in isolation in a small cell with little light 24 hours a day, according to China Aid.

“Guards were strictly instructed not to speak with him,” the advocacy group reported. “He was not allowed any reading materials, television, or access to anyone or anything. He was fed a single slice of bread and piece of cabbage, once a day; as a result, he has lost roughly 22.5 kilograms (50 pounds) and now weighs about 59 kilograms (130 pounds). He has lost many teeth from malnutrition. It is believed he was also repeatedly physically tortured.”

“The only thing I feared more than him being killed was his suffering relentless and horrific torture and being kept alive,” his wife told China Aid. “We desperately need help from our adopted country and from President Obama and Secretary Kerry personally to demand the Chinese government to allow my husband to come to the United States for medical treatment. 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.”

Jared Genser, head of Freedom Now, told China Aid, “The situation is far worse than my limited imagination enabled me to contemplate. While China is a great power in the 21st century, the inhumanity and brutality that it has demonstrated by the torture of Gao Zhisheng shows its profound insecurity and fear of anyone in its population who stands up to its repression.”

by Morning Star News
(MorningStarNews.org)

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