“Honorable Chairman Christopher Smith, members of Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, ladies and gentlemen,
Greetings to everyone!”
I am thankful for the organizer for giving me an opportunity at this Hearing to speak up for my dad — human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. I am grateful for the European Parliament for caring about my dad’s case.
I am Attorney Gao』s daughter GeGe. I was born to a happy, harmonious family, with mom and dad’s loving care, and relatives and friends around. I have been happy and never felt lonely. But at the age of 13, my life has undergone tremendous changes and turned upside down. On August 15, 2006, policemen kidnapped my dad at my aunt』s home in Shandong Province, because of my father』s taking up and investigating for the cases of the persecuted faith groups.
On the very same day, a group of policemen forcibly broke into and stationed at my house in Beijing. Since then, six to seven policemen had stayed at my house each and every day house arrest me, my mom, and young brother with surveillance, 24-hour a day, 7-day a week, including watching over our sleep and even going to the restroom. In order to monitor us tightly, they didn』t allow me and my 3 -year-old kindergarten brother to go to school. Under my mom』s death protest of opening the gas stove, the policemen finally agreed to our rights of education, but still under severe surveillance of policemen.
I had to ride their police car to school. Every day, there were six or seven policemen 「accompanying」 me to school. They always abusively insulted my dad in the car. One day on the way to school, there were two pedestrians talking along the roadside. One policeman pointed to them and said aren』t they Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia chatting? Another policeman followed-up immediately and said that yes, they are gay friends, and then they all laughed weirdly). That’s how I started my day of school each day. Policemen went in and sat behind me in the classroom in each and every class, including music course. The severe surveillance applied to my toileting too. They went in the restroom with me and did not let me close the door. One of the most annoying things is that my teacher in front of the whole class said: 「None of you can bring cell phone to school, if GeGe uses your cell phone, you』ll face with serious political charges.」 Also, my computer class was the only course in the school being cut-off. My spirit and nerves went close to collapse, after my father was taken away from us. I endured the pressure brought to my day-to-day life, suffered discrimination from classmates and teachers, and was forced to experience the loneliness at young age. I lose all my sense of security.
My 3 -year-old brother had also to sit in the police car to the classes. His kindergarten classroom is the only room with a surveillance camera in the whole Nursery.
In September 2008, the policemen did not allow me to go to school again. This prompted our determination to leave China to escape this unbearable mistreatment. Partly for our education, at a friend ‘s help, my mother took me and my brother to flee China, and came to the United States. Coming to this land of free, I did not have a trace of excitement. I missed my dad so much.
Combined with the accumulated worries about my father, I couldn』t take it anymore and experienced a complete nervous breakdown. The first Christmas night in the United States, I was admitted into the hospital.
I have been living in the United States for nearly five years now. I couldn』t hear my father ‘s voices, nor receive his letters about current situation. I missed him so much. The most recent news was this past January that my uncle went to the prison to see him. My uncle was not allowed to release any information about my dad by the Beijing Authority. It is almost another year since then. Enforced by various reasons and regulations, they did not allow my big family members to see my dad: my grandma, grandpa, three aunts, and his brothers and sisters, and all other relatives. Moreover, all my relative』s names were so-called blacklisted; they were deprived the rights from even getting a passport. Eight years passed, persecution about my dad is not only not over, but it also extends to all of his family members.
Living in the freest country in the world, it has been very sour in my heart. This freedom has not yet been open to me and my family.
My young brother had tearfully said to me once: 「I really couldn』t remember dad』s face and figure; I am no longer familiar with his voice.」
Today, I summon my courage and speak up at the Hearing of my stories of injustice suffering. I want to let you know that my dad is still behind the bars; my mom is in poor health, struggling to support the family; I need to go to school to complete the education; and my brother is still small. How individuals or a family can constantly fight with a huge country that has made our family suffering so long. I hope the U S Governments and people can hear our helpless voices and act right now. I know that only you can help me get back my laughters and normal life, confort my brother』s young heart and feelings, help my dad be released with peace, and get my family reunited.
Thank you for all helps you can render to our family!
GeGe, Daughter of Attorney Gao Zhisheng
December 5, 2013