Washington, D.C.: On August 7, 2014, Chinese authorities released renowned Chinese human-rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. He is now staying with his wife's sister in Xinjiang, under a round-the-clock watch by Chinese security officials.
Since his release, the family has now learned some terrible details about how he was treated in prison. From the time of his reappearance in Shaya prison in December 2011, Gao was held in a small cell, with minimal light, 24-7-365. Guards were strictly instructed not to speak with him. 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 kg (50 pounds) and now weighs about 59 kg (130 pounds). He has lost many teeth from malnutrition. It is believed he was also repeatedly physically tortured. Unfortunately, it is hard to get much more than basic information from him. 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 now suffering from a broad range of physical and mental health problems; he has not been allowed to see a doctor since his release.
After speaking with him and hearing from her family about Gao's immense suffering, Geng He commented: "I am completely devastated by what the Chinese government has done to my husband. The only thing I feared more than him being killed was his suffering relentless and horrific torture and being kept alive. My children and I have been lucky to have had the protection of the United States since we arrived here in March 2009. 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."
Gao’s international lawyer Jared Genser further added: "I am heartbroken for Geng He and her family. We knew that if Gao wasn’t killed, he would have suffered immensely. But 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."