Human Rights in China reports that two family members visited rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng in prison earlier this month. This was their first contact since an earlier prison visit almost ten months ago, before which Gao had not been seen for almost two years. Long periods without communication and his reported torture during an earlier detention in 2007 (.pdf) have repeatedly raised fears for his life.
On January 12, 2013, two family members of the imprisoned rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) were permitted to visit Gao at Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, according to Gao’s wife Geng He (耿和). This was the first family visit since March 24, 2012, and the only confirmation since that date that Gao is still alive. Gao’s younger brother and Geng He’s father were allowed to see Gao and speak with him by phone through a glass window.
[…] Before being allowed to see Gao, his younger brother was subjected to a body search and told that, during the visit, he was not allowed to discuss Gao’s case, Gao’s prison situation, or Geng He and their two children, who are in the United States, or to accept press interviews after the visit.
Gao’s mind seemed clear and he spoke normally. His younger brother was not able to find out when Gao is scheduled to be released, or whether he received the letters from his wife and children.
When Gao’s brother asked when Gao is permitted to see his family next, he was told that the family has to “follow old ways.” Geng He said, “Last time, it took nine months for the authorities to allow the family to see Gao in prison. How long will it take next time?”