Why Does This Rights Lawyer Go on a Hunger Strike Every Jan. 9?

Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was last with his family over seven years ago. (Image: Epoch Times)
Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was last with his family over seven years ago. (Image: Epoch Times)

Gao Zhisheng is a human rights attorney and dissident known for defending activists and religious minorities, and documenting human rights abuses in China.

He is referred to by many as ‘China’s conscience.’

But because of his work, he has been disbarred and detained by the Chinese government several times.

He last disappeared in February 2009 and was only released from jail in August 2014, left in bad shape due to severe malnutrition and torture. He could hardly speak and had suffered memory loss. Physically and psychologically, he had been crushed.

Gao is still not a free man. He is now kept under house arrest at his sister-in-law’s home in Urumqi.

However, his wife and their two children managed to flee to the US in 2009, lessening his worries for their safety. Still under surveillance, he is able to recuperate at an encouraging pace in the care of relatives.

His wife Geng He said that he is so thirsty for books that he is reading like he has never read before. He reads most of the day and his spirits are as high and optimistic as before.

Gao’s spine and teeth are his major problems due to overwork and abuse in prison. He almost lost his life when the family took him to a dentist to extract two molars to fix his tooth pain. It made him bleed non-stop for a whole week!

Geng He asked for pictures of her husband when her sister took him home, but she did not respond to the request straight away. She only sent photos some time later when Gao’s looks and health had improved. Looking at them, Geng still could figure out how bad her husband’s appearance was at the time of his release.

Recently she learned some heartbreaking news through a long-distance phonecall. He told her: “No matter when and where I am, I have to go on a hunger strike on January 9,” according to Epoch Times.

Why? It was the date that he was separated from his children and loving wife, a date that has left an unforgettable scar on all of them.

Previously Geng He urged the United States to press China to allow her husband to come and get treatment overseas. Now she says: “That was a wild wish. I am happy now that I can talk to him. To me, that already serves as my spiritual pillar.”

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