This month’s visit is important confirmation that Gao is still alive. In August 2012 two rights defense lawyers who traveled from Beijing to meet with Gao were told that he did not want to see any family or lawyers. Then in November 2012, on the eve of the 18th National Party Congress, Gao’s family received a letter purporting to be from Gao himself instructing them not to visit him. His brother thought the letter was strange and became worried for Gao’s safety.
Andrew Johnston, Advocacy Director at Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said, “CSW is very pleased that two members Gao Zhisheng’s family have been allowed to visit him in prison. However, we remain concerned about the lack of information about Gao’s well-being and the schedule for his release. We urge the Chinese authorities to allow Gao’s family and legal representatives access to him in prison and to ensure that he is treated in line with the standards set out in the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”.