AP Exclusive: Missing Chinese Lawyer Told of Abuse
In April, AP interviewed human rights activist Gao Zhisheng during his brief release from detention. In that interview, he provided graphic details about the torture he had endured but asked that it not be published unless he went missing or emigrated to another “safe” country. Gao has now been missing for eight months, and AP has decided to publish the interview:
The police stripped Gao Zhisheng bare and pummeled him with handguns in holsters. For two days and nights, they took turns beating him and did things he refused to describe. When all three officers tired, they bound his arms and legs with plastic bags and threw him to the floor until they caught their breath to resume the abuse.
“That degree of cruelty, there’s no way to recount it,” the civil rights lawyer said, his normally commanding voice quavering. “For 48 hours my life hung by a thread.”
The beatings were the worst he said he ever endured and the darkest point of 14 months, ending last March, during which Gao was secretly held by Chinese authorities. He described his ordeal to The Associated Press that April, but asked that his account not be made public unless he went missing again or made it to “someplace safe” like the United States or Europe.
Two weeks later, he disappeared again. His family and friends say they have not heard from him in the more than eight months since. Police agencies either declined to comment or said they did not know Gao’s whereabouts. The AP decided to publish his account given the length of his current disappearance.