As President Obama welcomes Vice President Xi Jinping, China's leader-in-waiting to the White House today our Commission will hear testimony from two wives who are appealing for the immediate release of their jailed husbands--great human rights leaders--back in China," said Chairman Chris Smith (NJ-04) at a bipartisan hearing of the U.S. China Commission today. "As Chairman, I hope that President Obama doesn't put human rights last on the agenda--or not at all--as he did when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the White House on January 19th , 2011.
"One of the wives, Li Jing, says that, "only the United States can make this case to China,'" Smith said. "President Obama, listen to these courageous women--Geng He and Li Jing--and act decisively. The China Commission hopes that the issue of human rights abuses in China will be raised in a serious and visible way during Mr. Xi's visit, and particularly that the detention of Gao Zhisheng, Liu Xiaobo, Chen Guancheng, Guo Quan, Liu Xiabin, Pastor Yang Rongeli, Alimujiang Yimiti and others are raised often and discussed in detail."
Smith (R-NJ) chaired a hearing entitled "The Case and Treatment of Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng" with Co-Chairman U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The hearing was cover lived by CSPAN. Click here to watch the hearing video.
Gao's wife was among the witnesses to tell the commission about widespread human rights abuses. Her husband had been missing--or "disappeared''--at the hands of the Chinese government for more than 20 months until briefly March 2010. Since then Chinese officials have not released any news of Gao's health or condition, and Gao's family members and lawyers have been unable to visit him. The hearing coincides with the high-level U.S. visit of the widely expected next leader of China, Xi Jinping. Xi is scheduled to meet with President Obama today.
"In September 2007, authorities disappeared Zhisheng and held him for over 50 days after he wrote an open letter to the U.S. Congress exposing human rights abuses in China," said Geng He of her husband, Gao Zhisheng. "Policemen covered his head with a black mask and took him into a room where they stripped him naked and beat him. They used electric batons to shock him all over his body--specifically his private parts--turning his skin black. After losing consciousness from the torture, he awoke covered in urine. Later, his captors used cigarette smoke to burn his eyes so severely that he could not open them." To read Geng He's statement, click here."