Attorney Gao Zhisheng's Daughter Escapes From House Arrest

August 28, 2006 Updated: August 28, 2006

Gao Gege, 13-year-old daughter of renowned human rights attorney Mr. Gao Zhisheng, escaped from the police on the morning of August 26. While riding a bicycle on her way to school, she turned into a small alley, making the police car following her unable to pursue. She successfully escaped and shared her experience whilst crying in an interview about the house arrest she had suffered for the past eleven days. At present, the little girl is staying with a friend of Gao Zhisheng.

According to an undisclosed analyst in China, support from both people overseas, as well as Gao's friends in China, has had an important, positive impact on Gao's case. The analyst urged for people around the world to continue to pay attention to Gao and his family's situation.

Gege had to attend school, but everyday she was followed by police in civilian clothes. On the morning of August 26, Gege asked to ride her bicycle to school. She made an abrupt turn into a narrow alley. The police car was not able to follow her. She took the opportunity to make several turns into different alleys and was able to elude the police who had been watching her 24-hours for eleven consecutive days. This is the first chance she has had to contact outside media since her house arrest. She choked up in tears as she described what her mother, baby brother and she had suffered from for the past eleven days.

According to Gege, the police ransacked her home on August 15, the same day they arrested Gao Zhisheng. The police confiscated his computer, camera, camcorder, mobile phones, his news articles and even bank receipts from money deposits. The only thing they left untouched was the television.

Gege said that her mother, Geng He, was on a hunger strike for three days and three nights to protest their treatment. In order to not implicate their friend, Geng He tore up the remaining writings and credentials at their home into shreds, put them in her pocket and ate them along with food. “For several days she ate the shredded documents until her belly swelled up,” Gege stated.

On August 15, nearly 20 policemen and policewomen moved into Gao Zhisheng's home. They were on three shifts with five people, four women and one man, on each shift. Gege said, “They had three meals a day in the restaurant [and brought us takeout food.] When they ran out of the food budget, they brought us their leftovers. I find it disgusting to eat their leftovers because it is these people's leftovers.” She added, “They watched TV all night and my brother Tianyu wasn't able to sleep.”

Over a period of ten days, her mother Geng He was allowed to take 2-year-old Tianyu out to play only twice. Gege said, “They only agreed to let Tianyu out because he was crying and screaming. He picked up his toy shovel and wanted to go out and play with dirt with the other kids. He usually opens the door of the house himself and goes out alone. The police locked the door from the inside, so Tianyu couldn't open the door. He cried and screamed very loudly, so they had to let him out twice.”

Gao Zhisheng (2nd from R) and his family. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Hu Jia, an environmentalist and human rights activist in China)
Gao Zhisheng (2nd from R) and his family. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Hu Jia, an environmentalist and human rights activist in China)

“They walked on daddy's favorite rug without removing their shoes! My daddy is a very neat person. They walked all over daddy's rug and made it dirty. I was heartbroken, and they didn't even allow us to clean it up!” Gege said.

When attorney Mr. Teng Biao and former professor of Peking University Mr. Jiao Guobiao went to visit them, a policeman pointed at them and said to Gege, “It is because of these people that your father is in jail. They have ruined your father. They are the villains.”

Gege said, “It was really disturbing to listen to these words, but I didn't know what to say back to them.”

Gege said in tears, “My brother Tianyu is the most unfortunate one. He likes drinking fresh milk the most, but these ten days he had to drink milk formula. Each time he was given milk formula, he cried and screamed. I am okay. After all, I have had daddy for over 10 years. But I pity Tianyu. He is only two years old. If daddy is sentenced to prison, Tianyu will never see daddy again. He is so little.”

According to Gege, the police confiscated all of their bank related documents and her mother has only 300 yuan left. “Mommy cries everyday. She has lost her appetite and won't touch food.”

Gege said, “I hope daddy will come home soon and take Tianyu and me out for fun. If daddy were home, I would endure it no matter how many days we had to live under house arrest. Daddy's health condition is not good, neither is mommy's. She also has to care for Tianyu. I really want to go home and help mommy.”

Shortly before school started, Geng He told Gege, “You will try to escape with every chance you have.” She gave Gege a list of people she can go to. She added, “Even if you cannot find any of these people for help, don't come back. Just find a place to stay.”

Yesterday (August 25) around 5:10 p.m., the police that lived in Gao Zhisheng's home moved out. Geng He was able to go grocery shopping, but the police were still following her.

Gege is now living with a friend of Gao Zhisheng. Geng He and her two-year-old son Tianyu are staying at home, but police in civilian clothes continue to watch them from the outside.

Audio recording of the exclusive interview with Gao Gege: (Chinese only)
Part 1:
Part 2: