In an exclusive interview, his first since he resurfaced two weeks ago, Gao Zhisheng said he did not wish to discuss his disappearance and whether he had been held and mistreated by the authorities. He appeared thinner and more subdued than the stocky, pugnacious civil rights defender of the past, though he said his health was fine.
Nevertheless, Gao said, the ordeal had taken a toll on him and his wife and two children, who secretly fled China early last year to escape relentless harassment by police.
”I don’t have the capacity to persevere. On the one hand, it’s my past experiences. It’s also that these experiences greatly hurt my loved ones. This ultimate choice of mine, after a process of deep and careful thought, is to seek the goal of peace and calm,” Gao, sitting straight-backed, told The Associated Press at a tea house near his apartment in northern Beijing.
His eyes brimmed with tears several times when he discussed his family, especially when he described seeing their shoes when he returned home for the first time Tuesday.
Read more about Gao Zhisheng via CDT.