Chinese Human Rights Attorney Recounts Torture

On Dec. 31, 2004, the noted human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng wrote his first open letter to China’s top leaders, “An Open Letter to China’s National Peoples’ Congress.” That was followed by his second letter “Stop Persecuting Believers of Freedom and Mend Your Ties with the Chinese People” written on Oct. 18, 2005 and third letter “Why One of China’s Top Attorneys Broke with the Communist Party” on Dec. 12, 2005.

In November 2005, Gao’s law firm in Beijing was suspended. On Aug. 15, 2006, Gao was kidnapped. Later, he was arrested with the excuse of “inciting subversion of state power.” On Dec. 12, 2006, the court conducted a trial without allowing Gao’s attorney to present his case. In the same year, on Dec. 22, Gao was sentenced to a 3-year term on the pretense of “inciting subversion of state power,” with 5 years on probation.

It has been over 2 years since all Gao’s connections to the outside world were cut off. In May 2007, the American Board of Trial Advocates granted Gao the Courageous Advocacy Award. In September 2007, Gao was kidnapped again and subjected to torture for 50 days, as recounted in this letter.

Dark Night, Dark Hood and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia

My account of more than 50 days of torture in 2007

These words from me today will be finally revealed one day. They will expose the true face of today’s China and will disclose the unimaginable heart and characteristics of the “ruling party” in China.

Of course, these words will inevitably bring unpleasant and even disturbed, embarrassed feelings to those global “good friends” and “nice partners” of today’s Chinese Communist Party—IF these global “good friends” and “nice partners” still have some concern in their hearts for the value of human conscience and morality.

Today, the suddenly well off CCP has not only gained more and more global “good friends” and “nice partners” but also has spoken more and more loudly such perverted slogans as “China is a country with rule of law.” Both will be disastrous to the progress and development of the human rights of the Chinese people.

Around 8 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2007 the authorities notified me orally that I should go for a mind re-education talk. I found there were some unusual things happening this time. The secret police, who used to follow me very closely, kept a greater distance. I was walking down the street that day and, when I turned a corner, about six or seven strangers started walking towards me. I suddenly felt a strong blow to the back of my neck and fell face down on the ground. Someone yanked my hair and a black hood was immediately pulled over my head.

I was brought to a vehicle and was put in it. Although I couldn’t see, it seemed to me that it had two benches with a space in the middle. I was put in the space in the middle on the floor. My right cheek was on the ground. All of a sudden a boot was put on my face holding me down. Many hands started searching all over me. My belt was pulled off and then used to tie my hands behind my back. At least four people put their feet on me holding me down.

About 40 minutes later I was dragged out of the car. My pants were falling down around my knees and I was dragged into a room. No one had said anything at all to me until that time. The hood was pulled off of my head at this time. Immediately men began cursing and hitting me. “***, your date of death has come today. Brothers, let’s give him a brutal lesson today. Beat him to death.”

Then, four men with electric shock prods began beating my head and all over my body. Nothing but the noise of the beating and my anxious breathing could be heard. I was beaten so severely that my whole body began uncontrollably shaking.

“Don’t pretend to do that!” shouted a guy I later learned is named Wang. Then a very strong and tall (approximately 6’ 1”) man grabbed my hair and pulled me up off the ground. Then Wang began beating me on the face terribly.

“***, you are not worthy to wear black clothes. Are you a Mafia leader? Pull off all of his clothes.”

All my clothes were pulled off and I was totally naked. Wang yelled again, and someone kicked me in the back of my legs, and I collapsed to the floor. The big guy continued to pull my hair and forced me to lift my head to see Wang.

At this time, I could see that there were five people in the room. Four of the men were holding electric prods, and one was holding my belt.

“You listen, Gao, today your uncles want nothing but to make your life worse than death. I tell you the truth, your matter is not only between you and the government.

“Look at the floor! There is not a single drop of water. After a while the water will be above your ankles. After a while you will learn where the water will come from.”

While Wang was saying this, the electric shock prods were put on my face and upper body shocking me.

Wang then said, “Come on guys, deliver the second course!” Then, the electric shock batons were put all over me. And my full body, my heart, lungs and muscles began jumping under my skin uncontrollably. I was writhing on the ground in pain, trying to crawl away. Wang then shocked me in my genitals.

My begging them to stop only resulted in laughing and more unbelievable torture. Wang then used the electric shock baton three more times on my genitals while shouting loudly.

After a few hours of this I had no energy to even beg, let alone try to escape. But my mind was still clear. I felt my body was jerking very strongly when the baton touched me. I clearly felt some water sprinkled on my arms and legs as I was jerking. It was then I realized that this was sweat from me, and I realized what Wang had meant about the water.

It seems that the torturers themselves were also tired. Before the dawn came, three of them left the room. “We will come back later to give him the next course,” Wang said.

The two left in the room, put a chair in the middle of the room and pulled me up and set me in the chair. One of them had five pieces of cigarettes in his mouth. One man stood behind me and the man with the cigarettes was in front.

The man behind grabbed my hair and pulled my head forward and down. The other man used the cigarettes to fill my nose and eyes with smoke over and over. They did this with the utmost patience. After a while I didn’t have any feeling except for some tears dropping on my legs.

This continued for about two hours. Then some other guys came in replacing the previous two. My eyes could not see because they were now swollen shut.

The new guys started talking, “Gao, are you still able to hear with your ears? I tell you the truth, these guys are experts in cracking down on Mafia guys. They are heavies. This time they are chosen specifically and carefully by the higher authorities for this purpose.

“Can you hear who I am? My last name is Jiang. I followed you to Xiajiang after you were released last year.”

“Are you the one from Penglai City, Shandong?” I asked.

“Yes, your memory is still good. I told you, you would come back sooner or later. When I saw you the way you behaved in Xiajiang, I knew you would be back. You even looked down upon our police.

“Shouldn’t we help you have a better lesson? You wrote that letter to American congressmen. Look at you, you traitor. What could you be given by your American lord? The American Congress counts for nothing. This is China. It is the Communist Party’s territory.

“To capture your life is as easy as stepping on an ant. If you dare to continue to write your stupid articles, the government has to make its attitude clear. Now, did you see that attitude tonight?” Jiang spoke slowly.

I asked, “How can you face the beating of Chinese and use Mafia tactics on Chinese taxpayers?”

“You are an object to be beaten,” said Jiang. “You know that in your heart better than most. Taxpayers count for nothing in China. Don’t talk about this term ‘taxpayers.’”

While he was saying this, someone else entered the room. I recognized the voice to be Wang’s. “Don’t talk to him with your mouth. Give him the real thing. Your uncles have prepared 12 courses. We only finished 3 last night.

“Your chief uncle doesn’t like to talk and so after a while you will see that you will have to eat your own S*** and drink your own piss. A toothpick will touch your light [sexual organs].

“Don’t you talk about torture by the Communist Party yet, because we will give you a comprehensive lesson now!

“You are correct, we torture Falun Gong. Everything is right. The 12 courses we’re going to give to you were practiced on the Falun Gong. To tell you the truth. I am not afraid of you if you continue to write. We can torture you to death without your body being found.

“You stinky outsider [meaning, not from Beijing]! What are you thinking even being here?”

In the following hours of torture, I passed out several times because of lack of water and food, and heavy sweating. I was lying down on the cold floor naked. I felt several times someone come and open my eyes and shine a flashlight in them to see if I was still alive.

When I would come to, I smelled the strong odor of stinky urine. My face, nose, and hair were filled with the smell. Obviously, but I don’t know when, someone had urinated on my face and head.

This torture continued until around noon on the third day. I don’t know where I got the strength to endure, but somehow I struggled to get away from their grasp and began to beat my head on the table.

I was shouting the names of my two children (Tiangyu and GeGe) and trying to kill myself. But my attempt did not succeed. I thank Almighty God for this. It is He who rescued me. I truly felt God drag me back from that state and give me my life.

My eyes were full of blood, though, because of my head-banging. I fell on the ground. Immediately, three people sat on my body. One was on my face. They were laughing. They said I used my death to try to scare them. They said they have just seen this too many times.

They then continued the torture again until that night. I could not see anything with my eyes anymore. I could still hear my torturers though, and again they gathered after they had dinner.


One Comment

  1. Unfortunately, China is the only country that suggests employ traditional medicine for the poor’s primary health care, which is otherwise done by conventional medicine throughout the rest of the world. When I unveiled this fact, the people in China began suspecting their government. The people asked that if traditional Chinese medicine is compatible with conventional medicine, how come other countries refuse to recognize it?

    Over the past sixty years, the Chinese government has been making the mistake of dual endorsement of conventional and traditional medicine. Now, in an attempt to cover up, the government calls for traditional Chinese medicine to join the rest of the world. With the help of the head of the WHO, Mrs. Chen, a Hong Kong native, the WHO announced the Beijing Declaration after a conference in Beijing in November 2008, which subscribed to the backwards situation in China.

    The above extract is from William Wang’s article “In the Beijing Declaration, the WHO devalues a human right for the poor by endorsing traditional medicine.”. You can find and read the complete article at

    Yours sincerely,


    Dr Tomas Eric Nordlander
    Human Rights Defence


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