Gao Zhisheng was unable to attend and his wife, Geng He, accepted the award on his behalf, via video. She said:
I wish Gao Zhisheng could receive this award, instead of me accepting on his behalf.
My husband is a human rights lawyer. He resisted unbearable pressure to support his clients. He voluntarily represented the poor to the best of his ability. He never bowed to money or power; he stood up to threats from people in authority. He regarded his law profession not only a job, but also as a means to propagate fairness, to reinstate justice, and conscience. He was an attorney in great demand until the government revoked his license, closed his law firm, placed our whole family under surveillance. They even deprived my daughter of her education.
Since my husband’s last public appearance we have endured nearly a year of total silence. All those days, our children and I have lived with worry and anxiety. Gao’s disappearance, in the past, has synchronised with brutality and shocking torture by the state. My husband’s case is a true presentation of China’s ongoing human rights crisis.
On behalf of my husband Mr Gao Zhisheng, thank you Index On Censorship for this honourable award which recognises Gao for his efforts in safeguarding human rights and freedom of speech in China.
Again, I appreciate your support for Gao and I hope it will help protect his safety.
About Gao Zhisheng
He has also defended journalists and religious minorities including Christians and members of Falun Gong. In 2005, he resigned from the Communist Party and wrote an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, documenting the suffering of Falun Gong practitioners and calling on the leaders to end their “large-scale, organised” abuse.
Security forces took Gao from his home in Shaanxi province on 4 February 2009. Gao claimed the security forces tortured him. The state denied any knowledge of his whereabouts until January 2010, when a foreign ministry official said the lawyer was “where he should be”. Gao disappeared again in April 2010, and the Chinese state has refused to register him as a missing person.
For those of you are concerned about Mr. Gao Zhisheng and his family, here is the great news to share with you. Mr. Gao Zhisheng has been nominated as one of the award recipients by Index of Censorship, a London base well-known publishing organisation for freedom of expression, which produces an award-winning quarterly magazine of the same name. The award ceremony will be held on next week (3/24/11) in England. Please be prepared to hear the announcement by then and get ready to congrats Mrs. Gao - Geng He:-). Mr. Gao is in one of the categories called "Law and Campaigning". Here I found the shortlist (three people) info in their website for your information.
Just so for your point of reference, there three Chinese people have won the award for the past few years. 2009 Books: Ma Jian, Beijing Coma; 2007, Whistleblower: Chen Guangcheng; 2006, Whistleblower: Huang Jingao.
Here is the Wikipedia regarding Index on Censorshhip info if you are interested.