Renowned human rights advocate Gao Zhisheng was released from prison August 7, but his family says he is very weak, and under heavy surveillance by communist authorities.
Gao just finished a three-year sentence for repeatedly writing to the Communist Party about its persecution of the Falun Gong meditation discipline.
The Christian lawyer had been representing practitioners since 2004, making himself a target for persecution, and arbitrary jail terms for “inciting subversion of state power,” one of which led to extreme torture which he later described in an open account.
Gao is reportedly staying with his father-in-law in Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, with access to the outside world severely limited by security agents.
His wife Genghe, who now lives in America with their two children, said they could only talk briefly on the phone—the first time they have spoken to each other in four years.
He told her his teeth are in a bad state, and a relative said they have to tear up his food, suggesting he was poorly treated and subject to more torture while in jail.
Legal experts in America are working to reunite Gao with his family, but are not hopeful he’ll be allowed to leave China.