Gao Zhisheng alive, but sounds like a beaten man

For the past year, a Chinese human rights lawyer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, who previously claimed to have been tortured and threatened with death by his government, has been missing. In January, I wondered whether he had been murdered.

So I was thrilled to read today that Gao Zhisheng has been sentenced but released by the Chinese government. But he sounds like a beaten man:

Mr. Gao said he was no longer in police custody but that he could not give any details of his predicament. “I’m fine now but I’m not in a position to be interviewed”…

Mr. Gao sounded upbeat but guarded, suggesting that he had been instructed not to speak to the media. He said planned to spend time with his extended family in Shanxi Province and that he had no plans to return to his work as a rights defender. “Right now I just need to calm down and lead a quiet life,” he said.

Then he turned melancholy and made an allusion to his wife and children in the United States. “They are like kites that have had their strings cut and now they are floating far off into the sky,” he said before hanging up.

The world community exerted tremendous political pressure on China over this case. Few human rights activists are so lucky.

Posted by James on Sunday, March 28, 2010