In his first interview since his recent resurfacing, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has said he will be abandoning his role as a fierce critic of the CCP in hopes of being reunited with his family. He told AP,
I don’t have the capacity to persevere. On the one hand, it’s my past experiences. It’s also that these experiences greatly hurt my loved ones. This ultimate choice of mine, after a process of deep and careful thought, is to seek the goal of peace and calm.
Similarly, Gao told journalists in March he needed “to calm down and lead a quiet life.”
His crusading defence of Falun Gong practitioners and Christian groups led to his law license being revoked in 2005, and he later confessed to charges of sedition after what he said was over a month of torture in 2006. In February of this year, Gao was finally declared ‘missing’ one year after he was seized by authorities.
His family, meanwhile, lived under surveillance from 2006 until January 2009, when they fled China and were granted asylum by the US.
Gao remained humble and positive when asked how his move will affect his supporters:
Everybody will be disappointed. Some people were really involved, concerned, supportive, making appeals. So when they read my words they will definitely feel disappointed. To them, I apologize. I’m extremely sorry.
Just because of the repression I experienced, don’t think that other people won’t do what I did. That’s not human nature…If there’s one more of me or one less of me in the field, it doesn’t matter. These years we’ve heard that a lot of others are eager to try. I still want to talk with them and hope they can learn a lesson from me.