June 21, 2017
When people under dictatorship decide to go dissident, they make a choice with huge consequences. (Almost invariably, they will tell you they did not “decide” to go dissident; they could simply do no other.) They set off a chain of events for themselves, and for their family.
Gao Zhisheng did this. A human-rights lawyer, he is one of the greatest men in all of China. What he has endured is almost unimaginable. And his family has had to endure a great deal too. About this, he is wracked with guilt.
I met his daughter, Grace, and wrote a piece. It is on the homepage today, here.
It is a vicious period for human-rights lawyers in China. The boss of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has cracked down on them, hard. Two years ago, the Party rounded up some 250 of them, in what has become known as the “709 Crackdown.” (The arrests started on July 9.) These lawyers have been tortured, some of them into insanity.