Beijing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has defended some of China's most vulnerable people, including Christians, coal miners, and followers of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement. Convicted of subversion and put on probation for five years, Gao has been "disappeared" and tortured several times. He now serving the suspended sentence handed down in a closed trial in 2006 at Shaya prison in the remote western region of Xinjiang. His wife, Geng He, who fled China in early 2009 along with the couple's two children, spoke to RFA Mandarin service reporter CK about her recent letters to her husband telling him about the dramatic escape of blind Shandong activist Chen Guangcheng and the family's new life in the United States:
I want to tell him that Chen Guangcheng is free and safe now. From the point of view of China's oppressed and victimized, this is a very encouraging thing. The family of Chen Guangcheng stuck it out, and eventually they were successful, of course, with the help of the U.S. government. The Chen Guangcheng incident has given us confidence.
Gao Zhisheng has previously felt very guilty because he felt that his children's troubles, the fact that they weren't able to go to school [back in China], were caused by him. Now, his child is doing very well, and has got into a very good university. The children are very happy, so I think that this will help to ease Gao Zhisheng's feelings of guilt.
The success of Chen Guangcheng proves that freedom comes as a result of the concern of a large number of people. That includes large numbers of people who tried to visit him. Shaya, in Xinjiang, is really too far away, and it's very hard to get to, so [perhaps people could] use a different way of expressing concern for Gao Zhisheng, for example, by writing him letters to let Gao Zhisheng know what is going on outside. This is easily done. If he gets them, the prison staff will also read them, and this will also let them know about the outside world, and I hope that this will make them treat him better.
Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.