BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– The wife of Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has urged the American government to allow him into the United States to receive medical treatment after years of alleged prison mistreatment.
Gao, who was freed August 7, is suffering from a broad range of physical and mental health problems but has not been able to see a doctor, said his wife Geng He.
The lawyer, known for defending persecuted Christians and other social groups, is reportedly only able to speak in short sentences and much of what he says is unintelligible. He also suffers of ailments related to malnutrition in prison, according to investigators. “I am completely devastated by what the Chinese government has done to my husband,” Geng said in remarks monitored by BosNewsLife on Sunday August 17.
“My children and I have been lucky to have had the protection of the U.S. since arriving here in March 2009. We desperately need help from our adopted country, from President [Barack] Obama and Foreign Secretary [John] Kerry personally, to demand the Chinese government allows my husband to come to the United States for medical treatment.”
If China’s 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,” she said.
Geng is shocked about his reported harsh time behind bars. “The only thing I feared more than him being killed was his suffering relentless and horrific torture and being kept alive,” she added.
In December 2006, he was sentenced to three years in prison, with a probation period of five years, on what his supporters said were trumped-up charges of “inciting to subvert the state power.”
During his probation he was allegedly kidnapped and severely tortured in detention by security forces. In April 2010, Gao disappeared again, and on December 16, 2011, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Gao had “violated the terms of his probation” was returned to prison for three years.
Gao was held in a small cell, with minimal light, day and night, his supporters said. Guards were allegedly instructed not to speak with him. He was not allowed any reading materials, television, or access to anyone, said advocacy group Freedom Now. “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),” the group explained.
“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.”
Since his release from prison, Gao has been staying with family in Xinjiang province, but is under heavy surveillance, according to Christians familiar with the case.
Gao’s international lawyer Jared Genser said he was “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,” he said.
“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.”
Chinese officials did not comment on the latest developments. It was unclear when and if Gao will be allowed to receive medical attention.
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