March 30, 2012
For the first time in almost two years, family members of prominent Chinese Christian lawyer Gao Zhisheng have confirmed he is alive and in good health, putting to rest fears that he had died in prison, China Aid reports. Gao's older brother and father-in-law, who were permitted a 30-minute meeting with Gao at the Shaya prison in Xinjiang, were able to see him through a glass window and converse with him using a prison phone. Gao, referred to widely as the "conscience of China," disappeared into police custody in 2009, less than a year after being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy work defending workers, political activists and religious groups. His family last saw him in 2010, when he gave an interview to the Associated Press describing the brutal torture inflicted on him by Chinese police.