One can only imagine what it was like for Gao to live in inhumane conditions
It's devastating to read a news story in which recently released human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been so affected by his prison term that he cannot speak coherent sentences and his health is poor due to malnutrition.
Gao's international lawyer Jared Gensher described the former prisoner as "emotionless", "basically unintelligible" and had lost his teeth. He was only allowed to eat a daily ration of a piece of cabbage and a slice of bread which caused him to lose 20kg, according to US-based advocacy group Freedom Now.
The group added he was confined in his small cell, with very little light and was deprived of human contact until his release. It is believed he was regularly tortured.
Freedom Now said Gao's wife, Geng He, had spoken to her husband and was "completely devastated" by what had happened to him.
"The only thing I feared more than him being killed was his suffering relentless and horrific torture and being kept alive," she was quoted as saying.
Seems her worst fears did come true.
She is now trying to urge the Chinese government to allow Gao to go to the United States to receive treatment there and be reunited with his children.
But the chances of Beijing listening to her and conceding to her demands are probably impossible.
Gensher says Gao has been "in an incredibly bad way".
"He is able to say a few words here and there and answering questions in a few words, describing what he went through. But he is not capable of holding any conversation and there are many occasions where he's just literally just muttering to himself."
After three years, the Chinese government has reduced an intelligent, determined, pragmatic man into a completely broken one.
Beijing has destroyed a productive human being because he did not serve its interests.
Can the government be charged with killing a human spirit?
At this point one also wonders how Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is faring. Is he being destroyed as we speak?