The last time I chatted with Gao Zhisheng, he’d just finished watching Gandhi.
It was one of those late April days in Beijing when you can taste the dust. I was with Martin Garbus, the veteran First Amendment trial lawyer, whose case work with dissidents includes names like Havel, Sahkarov and Mandela. He wanted to meet Gao, one of seven children of cave-dwelling peasants, who’d emerged as arguably the most brazen figure in China’s widening network of “rights defenders”. We took our seats in a tiny room at a teahouse next to Gao’s apartment block, and asked Gao how he was getting along of late. The first topic out of his mouth was Gandhi.
“My conclusion [from watching the movie] is that no authoritarian system is like the Chinese Communist Party’s,” he said. “Gandhi’s persecution was different from mine. He was in prison, but he got out and was free. In China, even if you’re not in prison, you’re dead until you’re old.” [Full Text]
See also Stop Persecuting Believers of Freedom and Mend Your Ties with the Chinese People, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao: Please Answer the Following Questions, and We Must Immediately Stop the Brutality That Suffocates Our Nation’s Conscience and Morality by Gao Zhisheng.