The wife of “disappeared” human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, Geng He, spoke on Wednesday at the Global Summit Against Discrimination and Persecution in New York City. The Sept. 21-22 event, timed to coincide with the opening of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, brought together an international coalition of non-government organizations that wanted “to place urgent situations of discrimination and persecution on the international agenda, promote human rights and democracy, and give a voice to the voiceless,” according to the event’s website (http://ngosummit.org/index.php).
Geng He’s opening day remarks are below. A video of her speech is available here: http://ngosummit.org/speakers-bio.php?id=4
Greetings, Mr. Chairman! Greetings, everyone!
I would like to thank the chairman of the summit for giving me this opportunity, to give a speech for my husband, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.
My husband Gao Zhisheng is a renowned lawyer in China. He always fights for the rights for his clients, and he always tries his best to provide free service to the poor. Money and power can never seduce him, the evil and the dark forces can never coerce him to give in. He has been promoting the idea of justice, righteousness and human rights to Chinese people, making use of his role as a lawyer. His sense of justice and outstanding eloquence even moved the heart of judges in the Chinese communist system. However, such a great lawyer who whole-heartedly serves the people, was suppressed and persecuted brutally by Chinese communist authority.
In November 2011, Chinese regime shut down his law office, and suspended his lawyer license. On August 15, 2006, unexpectedly police abducted him, and charged him with “inciting others to overturn the state power”. He was sentenced to three years in prison, with a five-year probation and deprivation of all political rights for one year. During the five-year probation, attorney Gao was abducted and went missing for more than six times.
When attorney Gao was abducted on September 21, 2007, he suffered shockingly cruel torture by Chinese communist police. Six to seven policemen covered his head with a black mask and took him into a room, where they stripped off all his clothes and beat him fiercely. Immediately after the beating, four police used four electric batons to shock him all over his body, specifically his private parts. Gao shivered and trembled in excruciating pain, sweating profusely, and he rolled over back and forth on the floor due to the unbearable pain.
The repeated shock continued for several hours. Attorney Gao passed out many times, and was on the verge of death.
The next morning, they used five cigarettes to smoke attorney Gao’s nose and eyes, and stabbed his private parts with tooth sticks. They tortured him with different kinds of torture methods, until the third day in the afternoon. At that time, Gao struggled to get away from them. He called our two children’s names loudly and at the same time bumped his head into the desk, trying to commit suicide to end the pains. His eyes and his head were severely injured, with blood covering his entire face.
Attorney Gao asked the police to lock him up in the prison; however, the police said, “You are simply dreaming if you want to go to prison. We can make you disappear whenever we want to.” They continued to torture attorney Gao until evening. In the end, Gao could not open his eyes because the smoke of the cigarettes made his eyes terribly swollen. His skin was all black from the electric shocks, without a tiny part of normal skin on his entire body. This was just one of the many tortures attorney Gao has suffered.
In order to protect our two children, under the extreme terror, I took our daughter and son to escape from China in January 2009.
Attorney Gao was abducted and missing again on February 9, 2009. One year later, in April 2010, Gao made one short public appearance, with the arrangement of Chinese communist authority, to accept an interview from Associate Press. During the interview, he did not comply with the order from the Chinese communist regime; instead, he exposed the torture he suffered to Associate Press. Since then, he was missing again, and no outsiders know his whereabouts.
Based on the judgment of “three years in prison with a five-year probation”, attorney Gao should come home on August 15 this year, after serving a full term of five-year probation.
I am extremely worried. I do not know how my husband has lived through all those excruciating torture that make one feel he would rather die than to stay alive. I do not even know whether he is still alive with unyielding courage or has passed away. My daughter misses her father so much that she suffers a mental break-down and has to seek psychological treatment.
A reporter asked my son and my daughter that how they would feel if they were to see their father. My son said, “I would cry a lot, because I finally get to see my father.” My daughter said: “In many of my dreams I dreamt that my father died. I longed to see my father and have the chance to tell him I love him.”
Undoubtedly, the torture and persecution of my husband by the Chinese communist regime has violated both international human rights treaties and its own constitution. From the torture my husband has suffered, we can see that Chinese communist regime is simply deceiving the international society by saying that it has made improvement in China’s human rights.
I ask the international society and western media to place the defending of human rights as the most important issue, and to report my husband’s case truthfully, so as to give the Chinese communist regime enough pressure and urge the Chinese communist authority to release my husband. I hope with your help my husband will regain freedom, and our family can get together again.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to present this request. My utmost hope is that I can work with everyone, to contribute my share in the international human rights undertaking.