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ICC Note:

Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Christian human rights lawyer in China, was release from prison on August 7th after his recent imprisonment of three years.  However, a recent report shows that he can barely talk and suffers from physical and mental health problems. According to this article, he has not been allowed to see a doctor since his release.

08/18/2014 China (CIC)– Prominent defender of persecuted Christians, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Gao Zhisheng was released from prison last week after his most recent three-year sentence. But doubt remains over whether he will be allowed to leave the country to be with his family in the United States.

Zhisheng, 50, is a Christian lay leader as well as a Beijing-based lawyer. He came to prominence for defending activists and religious minorities before Chinese authorities closed down his law practice in 2005, and arrested him for ‘subversion’ a year later, a charge that is often used by China against government critics.

After years of disappearance and torture, Zhisheng was finally released from the remote Shaya Prison in Xinjiang, western China on 7 August and went home to relatives, saying his teeth were so loose he could not eat. His latest conviction was for ‘inciting to subvert state power’.  A Washington DC-based group called Freedom Now, which campaigns for prisoners of conscience, says that he had been held in solitary confinement for the whole three years, in a small cell, with minimal light.  It said he was fed a single slice of bread and piece of cabbage once a day and had lost roughly 22.5 kg (50 lbs). It also reports he had no access to books, and says  “He can barely talk — and only in very short sentences — most of the time he mutters and is unintelligible. It is believed he is now suffering from a broad range of physical and mental health problems; he has not been allowed to see a doctor since his release”.

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