Persecuted Christian human rights lawyer releases memoir

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lawyer He Junren (left) and Grace
Geng (right) introduce her father's book.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Hong Kong—June 16, 2016) A book by a repeatedly imprisoned and tortured Christian human rights lawyer became available for purchase in Taiwan and Hong Kong on Tuesday. Written in secret, it describes the atrocities he experienced while incarcerated and outlines predictions for the fall of the Communist Party.

Grace Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer known for his defense of religious practitioners, presented her father’s newly-released book at a book launch organized by China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group on June 14. The book, titled Stand Up China 2017 – China’s Hope: What I Learned During Five Years as a Political Prisoner, is in three parts, focusing on the details of Gao’s torture, predictions for the downfall of the Communist Party and speculations about the future of China, respectively.

“He hopes that the book can provide more insight and suggestions for those who are interested in the future developments of China,” Geng said. “He also hopes that everyone will plan for our future after reading the book. He said that a great nation will at last ‘stand up.’ At that time, we will all become a civilized and harmonious force.”

Stand Up China 2017 - China's Hope: What I
Learned During Five Years as a Political
, written by Gao Zhisheng, details
torture he experienced at the hands of the
government and predicts the fall of the
Communist Party.
(Photo: China Aid)
Local police kidnapped and illegally held Gao in Nov. 2004 for writing letters to government officials denouncing the persecution of practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that combines exercises with a set of moral tenets. He was charged with “inciting subversion of state power,” given a three-year prison sentence and released on a five-year probation on Dec. 22, 2006.

Authorities began torturing him after he was taken into police custody again on Sept. 21, 2007. After his release 50 days later, he penned “Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia,” for which The American Board of Trial Advocates awarded him the Courageous Advocacy Award. In this article, he documented the various ways authorities mistreated him, which included shoving needles into his genitals and beating him with electric batons.

Government personnel abducted him once more on Feb. 4, 2009. He resurfaced on March 27, 2010, only to disappear into police custody again on April 20 of the same year, after he spread news of his torture. As a result, authorities sentenced him to three years in Shaya Prison, located in Xinjiang. His family had no contact with him for 21 months.

Gao was released on Aug. 7, 2014, although he says that “released” should be in quotation marks, because he has been subjected to constant supervision. Additionally, he has been repeatedly denied dental care— as officials claim that a trip to the dentist would endanger national security—despite having lost several teeth due to an undiagnosed condition. According to Geng, he is currently in Yulin, Shanxi province under the watch of 10 government officials.

“His mental condition is very good,” Geng said. “His physical condition is not good, but he is slowly recovering. We are hopeful that he will be able go to the city to do a comprehensive physical examination.”

Speaking of the possibility that her father will face retribution for publishing this work, she said, “He is brave enough to face the consequences. He can take any consequences if he thinks what he’s doing is right … I greatly respect his conduct and deeds; I also feel proud of him and his achievements. If he thinks what he’s doing is necessary, the whole family will fully support him.”

China Aid reports on cases such as the publishing of Gao Zhisheng’s book in order to promote human rights and rule of law in China.

China Aid Media Team
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