Updated 10:09 p.m. EDT, March 11, 2009
The wife and two children of famous Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng arrived in the United States on Wednesday having successfully escaped from China.
Two organizations, Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association for the Rescue of Gao Zhisheng, indicated that Geng He and her children entered Thailand where they filed for asylum with the U.N. Refugee Agency.
They were accepted by the U.S. government and safely arrived in the United States today.
“This family needs a stable life. We are very happy the U.S. government has helped them,” said Sherry Zhang of Friends of Gao Zhisheng.
“This family has suffered greatly, particularly the daughter. She is a 16-year-old child who has suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of the Chinese regime. The son is five and one-half years old, and has also suffered. He tends to be very emotional,” she said.
Their father, Mr. Gao, is one of China’s most respected lawyers. He is missing, widely believed to have been kidnapped again by Chinese authorities. Known as “the conscience of China,” Mr. Gao is noted for his efforts to defend democracy activists, underground Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners.
Beginning in 2004, Mr. Gao wrote a series of open letters to top ranking officials in the Chinese Communist Party including leader Hu Jintao. In the letters, Mr. Gao interceded for Christians and those who practice Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that was outlawed by the regime in 1999.
Many believe it was his defense of the latter and his call for an end to the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners that brought the full fury of the regime upon him.
Mr. Gao’s law business was shut down in 2005 and he and his wife and children were repeatedly harassed by the authorities. In September 2007, he was kidnapped for the second time and subjected to 50 days of torture, the gruesome details of which were revealed in a recently released letter.
Mr. Gao’s present whereabouts are unknown, but human rights organizations and his supporters fear that he is again being tortured.
“The Chinese regime has been using the family as a hostage. We are sure that their being in the United States is a big comfort to Gao. We don’t know his exact whereabouts but believe he is in the hands of the police,” said Ms. Zhang.
“We also believe he is being brutally tortured right now, and we are now even more concerned about his safety. The Chinese regime may even try torture him even more to try to find out the location of his family.”
Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association for the Rescue of Gao Zhisheng expressed thanks to those who helped in the rescue, including the U.N. Refugee Agency.
Special thanks were given to the U.S. government which quickly approved Geng He’s application and admitted the family into the United States.
To help Geng He and her family, Friends of Gao Zhisheng and the Global Association established a “Gao Zhisheng’s Family Aid Foundation.” The account information is as follows:
Future China Foundation, a special account for the support of Gao's family: 781817259
Check title: Future China Foundation
40-46 Main Street, Suite 201, Flushing, NY 11354 USA
Routing No: 021000021
Swift No: Chasus33 (foreign wire)