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With Courage, Gao Zhisheng Spoke In Defense of Justice
A conversation with Gao Zhisheng
SIDNEY – "Let us praise those who calmly and fearlessly face the brutality of torture, they are China's genuine hope!" – Gao Zhisheng
The publication of Attorney Gao Zhisheng's third open letter shocked the Chinese community inside and outside of China and has attracted resounding response. While still living in mainland China, Gao courageously wrote to the head of the Chinese communist regime, Hu Jintao, and Premier Wen Jiabao, to expose the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) brutal persecution of Falun Gong in the past six years, and to directly question the conscience of the CCP's leaders. In what manner did Gao go through his mental journey? To learn the answer, on December 21, 2005, Ms. Chen Hongxin, a reporter of The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television and a scholar on Chinese issues, who is familiar with Gao, interviewed Gao Zhisheng over the phone.
The following is a reorganized transcript of the telephone interview:
Chen: Hello Mr. Gao, I am Chen Hongxin. After the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice ordered the closure and reorganization of your Shengzhi Law Office, you have received great moral support from both inside and outside of China. Of course, this also attracted more severe scrutiny of the CCP, as demonstrated by their constant vigilance of your activities. What is your current situation?
Gao: First, I would like to thank all those who cared for me, including the reporter friends from the New Tang Dynasty Television. My current situation is fine. As an ordinary citizen, being attended everyday by twenty to thirty police can be considered a rare treatment.
Chen: That indeed is a special treatment.
Gao: Yes, I would think so. My family and I have been given a treatment that ordinary Chinese citizens do not experience.
Chen: However, it seems to be a rather wretched state.
Gao: It is pitiable for the authorities. Of course, it is also dismal for many Chinese people, including me.
Chen: When I called you the other day, you said you were being followed by four police cars. Has the situation improved for you now?
Gao: ( Laughter ) It is still the same. My mental burden only became heavier when a fresh gale sent a chill through Beijing over the last few days, making the days colder. Under this circumstance, they still kept watching at my door, I felt really sorry for them. They are also human beings. In fact, to me, they are the people who have actually lost their freedom 24 hours a day. They never know where my next stop is, or how much time I would spend here and there. Indeed, it is they who have lost their freedom, not me.
Chen: Yet the communist regime is wasting taxpayers' money like this.
Gao: This ordeal is extremely unscrupulous. We are deeply grieved because in China, many people are still starving and many children are so indigent that they cannot afford to attend school. Yet the devilish regime is wasting taxpayers' money. This is extremely immoral.
Chen: Actually, the acts of merely writing a letter to the communist leaders, requesting that they act according to the law and protect the weaker group will result in one becoming a target for their attacks. Do you think this is the state of mind of a regime that is doomed?
Gao: Your description of the communist regime reaching its destruction is actually very suitable and correct. This is indeed the case. Just like what I said in the third public letter, the regime has even lost its public façade of composure. It is a harbinger of their complete defeat. It is a common state of mind under such a situation.
Chen: Therefore, it also demonstrates weaknesses within the CCP.
Gao: It is a kind of weakness exhibited right before an utter defeat. Because you know, as an individual, I would sleep very well without thinking about the CCP. Yet this crazy and enormous political power that has millions of soldiers at its disposal still feels the need to keep twenty or so people watching me every day. ( laughter ) This is indeed an absurd state of mind.
Chen: That's right. The Shanwei incident a while ago is also a manifestation of the same state of mind. They fired on defenceless civilians; you can see their frailty just judging from that!
Gao: This is in fact a last resort because it and its citizens have no means to communicate. By not setting up communication mechanisms, they never even intended to establish the means to communicate. It will never have the means to solve problems by communication with its citizens. Its communication with the people is one-way: violence and lies.
Chen: That is why there are people who say, "The current CCP has only brutality and lies left".
Gao: Right now, it favors brutality over lies. Lies have no effect on many people now. People simply don't believe in their lies. It's bordering on desperation, thus it chose brutality.
Chen: The Epoch Times reporter still has questions that she would like to ask you, I'll give her the microphone.
Reporter: Hello Mr. Gao. I first would like to express my sublime respect for you. I am very thankful for your courage. You've established such a great example.
Gao: Thank you!
Reporter: You have publicly renounced your party membership recently on the internet. Publicly withdrawing from the CCP in China is an action that faces great danger. How did you consider it at that time?
Gao: You know, right now many people continuously give me great words of praise. This is something I have always felt unworthy of. It is those who faced the tortures that motivated me and educated me, and made me discard this long ago penniless identity–Chinese Communist Party member. Yesterday, an elderly couple in Beijing, who were both military personnel, sent my wife and me a letter. The letter said, "We are already nearly seventy years old. In the earlier days, we chose CCP and the revolution. The CCP we see today, as well as the CCP described in every one of your public letter differ in a million ways from the earlier ideals within out hearts." The man then reminisced the past and said, "At that time, we were willing to sacrifice our lives for the hope of the nation. Why is it that, today, for this nation, we can not throw away an identity?" Having said this, the elderly couple decided to follow my wife and I and chose to withdraw from the CCP. After I read it, I was very moved. Conversing with those persecuted Falun Gong believers has made me firm, and allowed me to quickly withdraw from the CCP without hesitation. We felt that those who faced the tortures are sacrificing themselves for the sake of our nation.
Reporter: Actually you have shown a huge amount of courage in speaking the truth while you were under the great pressure since you are directly impacting the forbidden zone of the Chinese Communist Party. During the six years of the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong, there have been so many people who actually knew the truth but did not dare to stand up and speak the truth as you have done. What did you think about this at the time? Why did you have such courage to speak out against the persecution?
Gao: From what I have seen, especially when we were with our Falun Gong compatriots, their tenacity and resilience in protecting their own rights really impressed me. Others believe that the struggle of these people against their persecution is all in the name of Falun Gong; however, what I have learned about is the other side of the picture—they are protesting for a beautiful tomorrow in our nation. In this situation, I should stand on their side, and I should do so without hesitation. These are part of ideological factors I chose at the time.
Reporter: Do you think there are many people in China who value the thought you have expressed in your open letters?
Gao: Now in China, particularly in regards to those people who are party members, they value it in their heart, that's for sure. However, they don't want to make any further sacrifices for this nation. During several phone calls this afternoon, I said "You have to acutely grasp the main threads of history, and don't be over cautious and indecisive so as to expect that this evil party could change its direction." However, many people still say that making this choice is very difficult. I believe that the difficulty lies not in the act of renouncing party membership but in their own fear and selfishness.
Reporter: So from this point of view, it is really encouraging that you made this choice. You are the nation's spine.
Chen: Attorney Gao, please believe that at any time you do have a strong group of supporters in China, though they may not talk openly about their support. However, all overseas Chinese with strong consciences and morals are always with you.
Gao: Thank you very much. This afternoon, more than 20 appellants came to visit me. It is very cold today; in fact, it has been the coldest day in Beijing this year so far. Their arrival impressed me very much. They are those most lacking in warmth, and on the coldest day of the year they came to me and my family and brought me their warmth. This was really a surprise to me.
We discussed many issues. Some of them said that, in the past, they vested their hopes in the weapon of the law and that, today, they would remove the word "law" and replace it with "justice" to strive against this evil party. So I gave a prompt speech which gained their tears and applause. My speech is a brief message for the outside today. The title is "Withdraw from the party and be closer to God. Prevent China from going down the path towards non-peace." What's my theme? It is that we must make the biggest effort possible to move China towards peace. China's day of change is coming; however, we must avoid violence in this transition. Why? I particularly remind them: in China's history, many transitions took place through violence. The goal of such change should not be a direct hope of "turning their past upside down and becoming their own master" but rather to expel oppression of the people. This is what we should pursue.
They were very happy about this speech. They thought that such change and transition in China could only be accomplished through violence. I tell them that violence is the most hopeless way for transition.
Chen: And it is the most inappropriate also, right?
Gao: Yes. However, the authorities are forcing the people to resort to violence in negotiation.
Chen: They did not think about the violent resistance they would get after using such violence.
Reporter B: Attorney Gao, I work at NTDTV. I was originally a member of the CCP, and I was amongst the first group overseas to withdraw from the CCP. ( Gao laughs happily ) When I was having lunch with my friends today, I mentioned you and how I deeply understand the danger you are facing at the moment. I have been out of the country for four years, and I am familiar with the situation in China. Many overseas Chinese admire and support your magnificent actions. I believe that we can take this path of peaceful change well.
Gao: Thank you. At the same time, I appreciate the friends who care about me. I think we should admire and revere those common firm fighters in China's culture and nation. Those who have sat on the tiger bench and I all grew up with a deep pride in the culture of the Chinese nation. I emphasize again and again that, during this recent investigation, I found that those who have sat on the tiger bench constitute the greatest portion of the hope we have in our Chinese nation. If we were in that situation, we could probably not step down from the tiger bench, and we could not even face the tiger bench. But every time, they sing songs of empowerment to deal with the tiger bench, making the officers surrounding the tiger bench tremble with emotion. Sometimes the officers even kneel down to beg the brave sitting on the tiger bench singing songs. That's truly the magnificence and gloriousness of human nature. So, the results of my investigation deeply moved me and shook my soul. I truly feel that China has real hope!
Reporter B: What you said is wonderful. Through your letters and what you felt, it is an encouragement and empowerment to our hearts as well.
Gao: I would like to thank NTDTV and The Epoch Times . I am not sure if the outside world can understand or not. In mainland China, under the domination of the evil party with one voice, The Epoch Times and NTDTV represent a large group of freedom fighters in China and make it possible for us to fully express the views and thoughts against the Chinese communist regime, representing our strong voice. Without The Epoch Times or NTDTV, our voices could only affect a small group of people who surround us in our everyday lives. Without these mass media, our efforts to affect that small group of people would be pointless. Therefore, the news media have already formed strong foundations in our daily lives.
Reporter: Attorney Gao, all the people who honor justice and uphold compassion will always support you. We won't make you walk alone. Thank you very much for accepting our interview. Please take care. Bye now.
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