China's Gao Abandons Dissent Campaign
Gao Zhisheng is back in the news. Earlier this week, the Associated Press spoke with Gao in Beijing. He said he was going to abandon his campaign for better human rights inside China, hoping to be reunited with his wife and children, now in the US.
The AP report notes:
...Gao said the ordeal had taken a toll on him and his wife and two children, who secretly fled China for the United States early last year. "I don't have the capacity to persevere. On the one hand, it's my past experiences. It's also that these experiences greatly hurt my loved ones. This ultimate choice of mine, after a process of deep and careful thought, is to seek the goal of peace and calm," said Mr Gao. He appeared close to tears when he discussed his family, especially when he described seeing their shoes when he returned home for the first time on Tuesday.
Gao, who became a baptized member of a house church in China in 2005, wrote a stunning narrative of his career at a human rights attorney inside China. The book, "A China More Just: My Fight as a Rights Lawyer in the World's Largest Communist State," was published in 2007. The repressive government in China used this book and his many other public statements about grave injustice inside China as the pretext to his harassment, arrest and torture and 24/7 surveillance of his wife and two children. The evangelical agency, China Aid, was at the forefront of efforts to pressure China's rulers to account for their early 2009 abduction of Gao. China Aid president Bob Fu notes this week:
While international supporters have expressed concern in seeing such a strong figure agree to back down from his position, ChinaAid President Bob Fu says Gao's decision is understandable and one of strength. "Gao Zhisheng is a man of integrity and heart. Facing such enormous pressure and knowing that his family needs him, he has chosen to fulfill his duty as a father to his children, and husband to his wife. I understand that decision. He has faced a long and painful separation, and it is a tragedy that he still cannot see his family." With regard to Gao's comments during the meeting with AP reporters, Mr. Fu acknowledges Gao's words are actually an encouragement to his supporters and fellow Chinese lawyers. "Gao Zhisheng is a man of faith. In his interview, he spoke of others who willing to fight for truth and justice regardless of his personal fate. His testimony is an encouragement to those who respect and admire his courageous work." Mr. Fu spoke with Gao Zhisheng personally over the phone the morning of April 6.