Attorney Gao Zhisheng's hunger strike against the tyranny of the Chinese Communist Party has sparked relay hunger strikes around the world. A recent phone conversation with him, on Feb 14, touched on the situation and progress of the strikes and revealed what the Chinese Communist regime's leadership wants to do about his impact on a growing human rights movement in China.
I Feel Like I Am Under More Pressure Than Anyone Else On Earth
Gao first talked about the tremendous pressure he has been enduring. “My nephew used to be in the army,” said Gao. “He was on his way toward becoming a soldier through much mediation initiated by himself, but one day he was suddenly called in. They asked him, are you Gao Zhisheng's nephew? The boy usually felt very proud when people mentioned my name,” said Gao. “That night, however, he was discharged and told he had to return home immediately, saying, 'What your uncle does now is very dangerous.' ”
Gao brought his nephew to Beijing, where he found work as a migrant laborer. “The second day he went to work, which is today, February 14, his boss was called to the police station. He is still being detained.” Gao believes this the arrest occurred as part of the regime's persecution of him and his family.
“You can't imagine how barbarian and obscene their treatment is! They are thinking and doing such contemptible things that even the worst person wouldn't dare to do so. As our human rights movement is gathering force in China, it will definitely irritate the Chinese communist regime and they will, in turn, adopt even more barbarian and obscene methods. I hope that our overseas friends will pay attention to this,” said Gao.
Gao said that his friends often see a side of him that is firm and determined. When they saw him at his family's house in North Shaanxi, they saw another side of him. “When I was writing about my family members, my mother, I was often covered with tears.”
He feels he is under immense pressure, making it very difficult to hide his true feelings. “Right now I feel like I am under more pressure than anyone else in the entire world,” said Gao. What we are now facing is a giant, ruthless, unscrupulous machine.”
It is not only Gao that feels the pressure. His friend and fellow human rights advocate Guo Feixiong planned on visiting a friend who is a university professor. On February 13, before he had arrived, more than ten policemen stood by the professor's door holding iron bars. They went into the professor's home numerous times to check if Guo had arrived, all the while knowing Guo had not arrived yet. “We are facing a regime that the outside world can hardly imagine—a regime that has robbed the country, gained power precisely through seizing by force, and then used all its evil force to suppress people and suppress different voices,” said Gao.
Regarding Gao's hunger strike, he emphasized that he did not do it carelessly, but because it was the last method available to him. “Some people in China have asked me if doing the hunger strike means we have given up on pursuing justice through the law. I told them that as long as the law has any power at all we will still use it. But in the cases where the law is absolutely not functional, we, not letting wrong behaviors go unchecked, have only one method left—to use our bodies,” said Gao.
Using Hunger Strikes To Clarify the Truth To The Outside World
“We think the hunger strike has long-term value,” said Gao.
He feels that a hunger strike comes to integration value in terms of all resources and uniting all different people's strengths, similar to how Falun Gong practitioners in China tell people all over China about the persecution of the group's members using the material and personal resources available to them. Gao said, “Currently, the outside world cannot see the effects of the Falun Gong group in China. They [the Falun Gong group] continue to move us. They clarify the truth to people ceaselessly and tirelessly; they are not the same as us. We have a beginning and an end to do things but they do so every day.” After working all day, Falun Gong group go running in the urban and rural places during evening and night hours to tell the facts of the Falun Gong's persecution. “This effects a peaceful transformation of China and helps entire Chinese society understand the evil communist party's essence. These effects on the course of history cannot be underestimated,” said Gao.
Gao went on to say that they all must cherish this historic moment. “We must take hold of it,” said Gao.
“Why recently many advocates and movements, including this relay hunger strikes movement, have been initiated and coordinated gradually in harmony? The hunger strike movement is not an objective that whoever wants to build, even not chosen by Falun Gong group; instead it is the integration strength reflected by themselves [Falun Gong group], and the resource basis formed by their long-time effort. Therefore they have played such a role in this stage in history. I believe that in any situation we should not have some sort of spiritual obstacles regarding who would establish, integrate or connect communications,” Gao added. Gao points out that one of the biggest positive effects the hunger strike has had is in helping the outside world understand the Chinese Communist regime. German and New Zealand media recently visited him. “In the eyes of foreigners, China is merely a non-democratic government,” he told reporters.” “That superficial understanding isn't enough. I told them that China is not just an undemocratic government; it is a completely inhumane, uncivilized, immoral and reactionary government. As long as you don't recognize its essence, you will be influenced by its rules and regulations when dealing with it.”
Gao stressed the versatility of the hunger strike because anyone can participate in it. “Every Chinese person should take it as something they must do, supporting each other,” said Gao.
The Chinese Communist Regime is the Root of Crimes
In one of his open letters to the Chinese Communist regime's leadership, he says that the root of the CCP's criminal behavior is the communist system itself. It allows people to do terrible things without restraint, the people who serve the communist system are victims themselves because their human nature is heavily damaged by their immoral and brutal behavior.
Gao has been especially perceptive in his understanding of the persecution of Falun Gong, as expressed in his open letter. He points out that the communist system's bureaucracy facilitates the persecution—every task assigned is detailed and discrete. It is also contingent on one's salary or promotion. It does not matter how they complete their tasks or what brutal methods they use because only the results are inspected. If there are no results, one's salary or status suffers.
Another major issue is that those carrying out the persecution have no beliefs. You can't expect them to understand the spiritual values held by the Falun Gong followers. Those who don't have beliefs don't care about the future. This fearlessness encourages the persecution to continue.
High-level Chinese Communist Party Officials Struggle Against Me
Gao believes that China's leadership Hu and Wen do not in fact support the persecution of Falun Gong. Gao, however, feels that the current leadership will not harm him because that would prevent a resolution of Falun Dafa's persecution through discourse. “Therefore, they would like to maintain a situation which gives me a certain amount of freedom,” he said.
Gao also points out that if he was arrested, people would give up the hope of China ever being ruled by law. At the end of last year, high-level officials were arguing about whether to arrest him or not. Some people feel that he should be arrested as soon as possible. Others feel that since the Chinese Communist regime talks about rule by law and this is what the global community and the Chinese people expect, arresting Gao would reveal the true situation and break people's hope. “Then, no matter what you say, people wouldn't believe that there is any rule by law. Even though there is no rule of law in China, people think that by not arresting me there is still the hope of building a legal system in the future.”
But it is not clear what Gao's future holds. “Some university professors who have contact with Communist leaders tell me that the authorities are still fighting about my issue. They still do not know what to do with me.”