My Recent Conversation with a Department Head of the Beijing Justice Bureau
Written on the 96th day of surveillance on my family by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) using thug-like tactics, and the 8th day since Ouyang Xiaorong was kidnapped.
On February 23, 2006, after many days of silence, the Beijing Bureau of Justice ordered me to come in to discuss the matters at hand. Again, it was Chai Lei, a person who takes great pleasure in other's misfortune. The content of our conversation was as follows:
Chai Lei: Attorney Gao, we have not seen each other for a few months. You are looking even better than before.
Gao: Thank you. After leaving the care of the (communist) party my mind is at peace and my life is less stressful. My heart truly feels a sense of freedom that I have never before experienced. This inner spiritual freedom along with the freedom to travel has enabled me to move forward with my life. I have written quite a lot recently.
Chai: Have you conducted a self-examination of your behavior within the last few months?
Gao: Yes, I have conducted self-examinations. But they are not the kind that you might have imagined. My everyday self-examinations have been written down and published.
Chai: We have read what you have written. Let's go to the conference room to talk with others.
Four people from two sides walked into the conference room.
Chai: Attorney Gao, your lawyer's license has not yet been revoked. Legally, you are still a lawyer. You have simply stopped practicing law. Given that you are still a lawyer, your conduct comes under the authority of the Justice Bureau. We have the authority to order you to talk.
Gao: I have not questioned your authority to request that I join you in a conversation.
Chai: Attorney Gao, you are a smart person. At present, some attorneys are acting outside of the constitution and the law.
(interrupting Chai Lei) Gao: Head Chai, you need to be more specific. Who is this person that has violated the constitution and the law? Is that me?
Chai: What I said was some attorneys. I didn't point at you directly.
Gao: Head Chai, you have made a mistake. Whoever it is with whom you have a problem, you need to speak with them directly. I am not the one with whom you have a problem. If you have a problem with other attorneys, you need to speak with those attorneys directly. Your questions do not make sense to me.
Chai: You are a smart person. The person I am talking to is you. You should understand.
Gao: Thank you for your compliments. As a government official, any conversation between you and I is a matter of public record. Why do you continue to play cat and mouse with your questions? You are suggesting that I have violated the constitution and the law. Let me ask you this: In our discussions today, do you represent the Chinese Communist Party or do you represent the Beijing Justice Bureau?
Chai: Of course, I am representing the Beijing Justice Bureau.
Gao: Head Chai, again you have made a serious mistake. As a representative of the Beijing Justice Bureau, your only authority lies in determining whether my conduct as a lawyer is correct and within the guidelines provided by the bureau. If I have indeed violated the constitution and the law, or even if I had violated the Chinese criminal laws, then only those government departments responsible for enforcing those laws should be dealing with me. You have gone far beyond your responsibility as a government official. If a government official has gone far beyond his responsibility, then this behavior is violating the constitution and the law.
Chai: I want to be clear with you. Do you fully understand what you are doing? Do you fully understand the consequences of your recent actions and of your answers here today?
Gao: Head Chai, again you made a stupid mistake. You are threatening me. The Chinese Communist Party has already attempted to threaten and intimidate me and my family. There are almost 100 special agents of the CCP who have continued to attempt to harass me and my family on a daily basis. They have hysterically, disgracefully and recklessly acted in this manner for almost 100 days, 24 hours a day without shame. Their efforts are useless, they do not even frighten my child. Why do you think that your words today will intimidate me? It is your actions and your words here today that are outside the guidelines of the constitution and the law.
Chai: You will be punished for being non-cooperative.
Gao: Again, you are talking nonsense. We have been waiting for your so-called reorganizations and improvements. To date, you have not made any changes and/or improvements. Where are your improvements?
Chai: Haven't you already answered this question yourself? If you would cooperate with the department in answering my questions, things would go better for you and for your family.
Gao: Chai Lei, please remember, these are strange times in which we are living. Our conversation today is the result of the current situation. I am not waiting for any verdict from the Justice Bureau. Your only real concern here is your own job security. But my life and the actions which I have decided to take are based on guidelines of a higher principle.
Chai: All right, do you have anything more to say?
Gao: There are words to say everyday. But today you ordered me to have this conversation. I didn't ask to talk with you. I don't have anything more to say to you.
Chai: All right Let's end our conversation here.
The conversation ended and we parted.
Written on February 23, 2006, at my Beijing home, surrounded by plain-clothes police and thuggish gangs.
From the Editor : On the day that attorney Gao was ordered to talk by the Justice Bureau, he received a large number of phone calls expressing concern. He said, “I need to especially thank those Chinese people from around the world who have expressed their concerns for the health and safety of me and my family. The phone calls expressing concern have been non-stop. I want to thank all of these kind people for their good thoughts. I didn't stop answering phone calls for a whole day. Many people called to tell me that they had called the Justice Bureau. I want to thank them for their courage in making those calls and can only hope that their calls will indeed help to change this society for the better.”
As far as some people's concern that Gao Zhisheng would be arrested, Gao said, “Dangers always happen due to one's being afraid of it. If I am not afraid of it, nothing bad will happen. I am not afraid of the CCP.”