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And the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China convened yesterday. The wife of renowned Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was the center of attention, bringing light to the suffering her family has endured for years.
As Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping meets with officials at the White House and the Pentagon...down the street by the US Capitol, one Chinese woman is telling lawmakers her family's story of suffering and despair at the hands of the Chinese regime. Geng He, the wife of imprisoned rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, is testifying before the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Gao defended individuals from vulnerable groups in China including Christians and Falun Gong practitioners, taking cases other lawyers wouldn't dare to. In September 2007 he wrote an open letter to the United States Congress urging the US to boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Since then Gao has been in and out of prison, telling accounts of being tortured by authorities. The regime claims he is currently in the Xinjiang region serving a three-year sentence, yet his family hasn't heard from him in months... and say they can't find a lawyer who will represent him in the Mainland.
[Geng He, Gao Zhisheng's Wife]:
"Right now it's very difficult for us to get any lawyers to help Gao Zhisheng even if we are really paying, but no lawyers can take the case."
The hearing is chaired by US Congressman Chris Smith. Smith says tough questions need to be asked of Xi Jinping when he visits Congress on Wednesday.
[Chris Smith, US Congressman]:
"I think, in a very serious way, the immediate release of political dissidents like Gao Zhisheng, Liu Xiaobo, Chen Guangcheng. All of these men and women who are suffering, they need to be released unconditionally."
Ben Hedges, NTD News, Washington DC