Jailed Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng is getting help from the US Congress. He is one of two prisoners selected by the Defending Freedoms Project of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. It’s a bipartisan committee of the US House of Representatives.
US Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia wrote a letter to Gao on January 22nd informing Gao of his selection, and promised to work in support of his release.
Wolf said, quote, “Your faith is an inspiration as is your pursuit of justice even at great risk to your personal safety and well-being… You have my promise that I will be your friend and will not be silent in the face of your suffering.”
[Geng He, Wife of Jailed Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng]:
“The Representative was very sincere in the letter, my family was quite moved by it. They’ve worked hard for human rights in China. I printed the letter and sent it to Gao’s family members back in China, to let them know how Gao is being cared for overseas.”
The Defending Freedoms Project was initiated in December 2012. Gao Zhisheng and Nabeel Rajab, prominent human rights activist in Bahrain, were the first two activists selected for the project. It seeks to support human rights and religious freedom through a focus on prisoners of conscience.
Renowned Chinese rights activist Hu Jia says Representative Wolf should send a copy of his letter to the Shaya Prison in Xinjiang province. That’s where Gao has been held since December 2011. State media alleged he violated probation of a 2006 sentence for so-called subversion.
[Hu Jia, Chinese Human Rights Activist]:
“Every dictatorship regime is an enemy of the public. When a person suffers under dictatorship, it means everyone is suffering. By sending the letter, you can deal a blow to the dictatorship. When overseas individuals help those in China being abused, it’ll call on the Chinese people to stand up for the suppressed.”
Gao Zhisheng was allowed a brief visit by his family this month, almost 10 months after the last visit. Chinese authorities once recognized him as a rising human rights lawyer. But after he began publicly defending the persecuted Falun Gong spiritual practice, the regime turned on him. Gao has published accounts of gruesome torture he suffered during periods of forced disappearance at the hands of security officials.
- Source: NTD TV