Obama Will Seek Release of Prisoners of Conscience
President Obama will attend Beijing APEC
(Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit this November.
State Department’s Under Secretary Sarah Sewall made a
commitment, Obama will directly seek the release
of political prisoners from the Chinese authorities,
including well-known human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.
Democratic activists have expressed their unanimous
welcome to this move.
Radio Free Asia reported on the 19th, Under Secretary Sewall
met with the Chinese families of prisoners of conscience
on the 18th at the State Department.
Sewall promised President Barack Obama will request
the Chinese authorities to release political prisoners
in his visit to China in November.
Accordingly, Sewall indicated that Washington has proposed
to allow Gao Zhisheng medical care in the U.S. and to unite
with his family in China to ensure a smooth APEC atmosphere.
Fang Zheng expresses his expectation towards the Under
Fang Zheng was an activist during the 1989 student
He was rescued to the United States through the help
of Humanitarian China.
Fang Zheng: “We have been hoping and wishing the U.S.
government will officially request release of all political prisoners,
especially those who are representatives of those victimized,
such as Gao Zhisheng.
I hope he will receive true freedom.
The universal values these democratic Western countries uphold
entitle them to the moral responsibility."
Also present in the meeting at the State Department were
representatives of families of the prisoners of conscience:
“Grace" Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng,
Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang,
Liu Xianbin’s daughter Bridgette Chen,
“Esther" Huixin Zhang, daughter of pastor, Zhang Shaojie,
daughter and wife of rights lawyer Chang Boyang,
two representatives of Tibetan prisoners of conscience,
and Chen Kegui’s father Chen Guangfu and uncle Chen Guangcheng
The prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was one
of those who were concerned.
Gao Zhisheng was released from Shaya prison in Xinjiang
on Aug. 7, but still subject to close monitoring by the authorities.
Human rights activist Hu Jia: “Gao Zhisheng has just come
out of a jail and entered a home prison.
His families are tied with his home imprisonment.
He has not received even the most basic humane treatment
such as medical in Beijing, not to mention go to the US."
Prior to his release, Gao Zhisheng had been kept in a dark cell
alone for 5 years with just one steamed bun
and a bowl of cabbage a day.
Upon release, he was not used to the day light, he was pale
and could not talk smoothly.
His wife, Geng He said that Gao, 178-cm height,
weighed only 137 pounds.
Fang Zheng: “We all know that Gao Zhisheng has endured
appalling persecution in China.
He was the first who challenged the regime
about the persecution against Falun Gong.
His symbolic move has brought him the brutal suppression."
After personal investigation into the persecution of Falun Gong
practitioners, Gao Zhisheng had issued three open letters
to the Communist authorities to reveal the true situation.
He also publicly announced to quit the party.
Since then, he has been subject to surveillance
and harassment for many years by the CCP
Politics and Law Commission until his imprisonment.
Hu Jia: “I am really looking forward to the United States
rescue of the 18 political prisoners.
They are indeed the representatives of the political persecution.
They are innocent from a legal perspective.
The entire world, including the UN and individual countries,
should all raise this issue with the Communist regime.
It is not enough to rely on just the United States alone."
Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), head of the global human rights
subcommittee in the House of Representatives,
and co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on China,
has indicated that private and polite diplomacy is not effective.
He hopes the Obama administration will include the use of
new thinking, including meeting with daughters
of political prisoners.
Rep. Smith also promoted the China Human Rights Protection
Act of 2014, HR 5379.
The bill includes prohibition on entry and admission to the
United States and blocking of the property in the United States
of human rights perpetrators in China.
Interview & Edit/TangYin Post-Production/GeLei