'We Are Never Able to Be With the Ones We Love'

Chinese political prisoners' family members in the US tell RFA their wishes for the holiday season.

Geng He at a congressional hearing in Washington, April 9, 2013.

Chinese residents of California launched a Christmas card campaign this week for political prisoners in China. Some of the closest relatives of Chinese prisoners of conscience spoke to RFA's Mandarin Service during the event, run by the Bay Area Chinese Association in San Francisco:

Geng He, wife of jailed rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng:

"Whenever Christmas comes around, we feel very bitter, because we have no part in such a happy celebratory festival, because we are never able to be with the ones we love. We have been able to show our love and concern for these prisoners of conscience, including our own loved ones, through this event. This is how we want to welcome Christmas and the New Year."

Wang Mei, sister of jailed Chinese dissident Wang Bingzhang:

"I really miss my brother. I haven't been able to spend a festival with him in 11 years now. He is a wonderful person. He's not after fame or profit. All he cares about is helping a lot of people, and for this he has been sentenced to life imprisonment. He received the cards [people sent him], and he knows that all these people are working for him and supporting him. He will feel extremely honored. Also, I want to send out my good wishes to all the other people who have suffered oppression or who are in prison, and hope they can find some kind of peace."

Ma Li, wife of a practitioner of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement who is currently in a prison in the northeastern city of Shenyang:

"I hope that my husband will receive this card before Christmas. We'd like to thank everyone for their concern, which brings us great warmth at such a cold time of year. I hadn't expected it."

Reported by CK for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated by Luisetta Mudie.