NEW YORK--Geng He, the wife of renowned Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, appealed for her abducted husband's safety in China. She spoke at a press conference at the New York Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association on April 6.
Geng and her two children escaped to New York on March 11, but so far, no one knows Gao’s whereabouts since the Chinese communist regime abducted him from his home again on February 4.
At the conference, Geng described her family’s ordeal. "We lived on the second floor. There were two or three policemen guarding at my door on the first and third floor. The one-story unit at the apartment building was guarded by the police round the clock. There were also police in my apartment. Every single movement of ours was under their surveillance, including using the toilet and the bathroom. When we went to bed, the police would sit next to us, and we weren’t allowed to switch off the lights. The children were unable to sleep even when they were sleepy.” Her younger child, a boy, is five years old.
The elder daughter, now 16, suffered much mental anguish. “They banned my daughter from school, and she tried to commit suicide because of this. When I found this out, I totally collapsed. I decided to run for the sake of the kids,” Geng said. The family was able to escape China via a network of supporters.
On February 8, Gao’s overseas friend published an article written by Gao on November 28, 2007, which described the physical and mental torture he suffered during his last police abduction. For years, his wife and two children were under 24-hour police surveillance.
Geng said that her husband suffered many health problems due to the long term torture. His eyes kept tearing up because of smoke torture. He can hardly read books for half an hour because his vision becomes blurred. Because of a lower back problem resulting from torture, he could not get up from bed. His digestive system suffers also; he lost the ability to gauge whether his stomach is full or not, so sometimes he vomits because he doesn’t know to stop eating.
In 2005, Gao published three open letters to the Chinese regime to urge it to end its persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Gong. The facts Gao presented in the letters were gathered during his 15-day investigation of the persecution. Despite the consequences, the family stands behind Gao’s mission to advocate for Falun Gong’s rights. “I support his choice and his values. The children and I are all behind him,” said Geng.
Support from Rights Community
Albert Ho, Chairman of Hong Kong Democratic Party, also spoke at the conference. A lawyer himself, Ho is the Chairman of the China Human Rights Lawyer Concern Group. Ho especially made the trip from Hong Kong to show his support.
Ho commented that according to Chinese law, Gao has every right to work and live freely. “The law entitles Mr. Gao to freedom of work and life. But he is being persecuted, put under surveillance round the clock and tortured. His family is implicated, and his children suffer discrimination and humiliation,” he said. “This is something which cannot be accepted, and is very barbaric.”
He urged the international community to pressure the Chinese regime to free Gao. “Not just America, but all countries around the world that respect human rights should establish their dialogue (with China) on the platform of human rights, to urge China to fulfill its responsibility stipulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998. Chinese citizens are citizens of the world, we urge the regime to return attorney Gao’s freedom and dignity,” said Ho.
Ho has faith that rescue work will continue and be successful, “Because we believe that victory belongs to the side of justice.”