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ICC NOTE: Stories of perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds are truly inspiring and for the story of Gao Zhisheng, it only strengthens that belief. To understand the torture and ordeal he faced while in prison is hard to imagine for anyone who does not realize the situation for religious minorities throughout the world. It is reassuring to hear that in the darkest moments of his imprisonment, he was able to rely on Christ. Now released from prison, the human rights lawyer lives in a small village but is unable to see his wife and family as she lives in the United States. As he tastes some semblance of freedom we must not forget the countless others who remain prisoners in China for their faith. 

6/16/2016 China (Christian Post) – A Chinese human rights lawyer who was released from jail in 2014 recounts the torture he suffered at the hands of government authorities in a new memoir in which he reveals how his Christian faith gave him strength to survive.

The Associated Press conduced an interview with 52-year-old Gao Zhisheng about his Chinese-language memoir, China’s Hope: What I Learned During Five Years as a Political Prisoner, which the lawyer said was hard to write due to ongoing surveillance by Communist Party officials.

Zhisheng revealed that he spent three years in solitary confinement for standing up against the government’s various human rights abuses, but said it was “his Christian faith and his unwavering hope for China that sustained him in that period of isolation.”

China’s crackdown of religious minorities, including Christians, has been well documented over the past couple of years, while several rights lawyers have been arrested on state subversion charges. The Communist Party has been imprisoning individuals it sees as a threat to its power, and has also attempted to stem the growth of Christianity in the county.

Zhisheng said the torture he suffered while in prison was so severe that when he was finally released in August 2014, he could barely walk or talk. The human rights lawyer has since been living in a small village in Shaanxi province, though the U.S. government has urged China to allow him to live in America, where his wife resides.

Zhisheng said in the AP interview that although he misses his family deeply, including his adult daughter, he is staying in China for now in the hopes of playing a part in changing the country.
“Once one has chosen to engage in combat, then there is no such thing as giving up. It is defeating to think about those things,” he said.

“My only worry is that I have affected the lives of my wife and children,” he added. “I’m indebted to them eternally, because I love them more than my own life, but I cannot attend to their needs now.”

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