Gao Zhisheng: Out of Prison, but Not Free

At The Washington Post, rights lawyer Teng Biao discusses the case of his friend and colleague Gao Zhisheng, who was released from prison last month.

We are happy to see Gao come out of jail alive. But he is not yet free. He is now recuperating at the home of his in-laws in Urumqi. In the first days after his release, he could barely speak, but he appears to be regaining his ability to communicate. His wife reported that about half of his teeth either fell out in prison or are very loose, but Urumqi doesn’t have the dental equipment needed to treat him properly, and the authorities are barring him from traveling elsewhere to seek care. The rest of his physical condition is equally worrisome.

[…] Gao has never broken any law, and his persecution is a stark reminder that China has no rule of law. He now is serving a supplemental sentence of one year of “deprivation of political rights.” Ludicrous as this is (it’s not as though other Chinese have political rights, either), travel, seeing a doctor, reuniting with your family and catching up with friends are not “political” rights under Chinese law. Still, Gao seems to be able to do none of these. […] [Source]

Teng concludes with a plea to China’s leaders to “give back ’s freedom to seek treatment and allow him to reunite with his family.” Gao’s wife Geng He, who has posted details of his current situation on Twitter, will also make a public appeal on Tuesday for him to be allowed to join her and their children in California. The family left China in 2010 to escape the pressure frequently applied by Chinese authorities to activists’ relatives and friends. Teng Biao’s family has also been targeted, according to a recent profile at South China Morning Post (via CDT).