"Zhisheng, 50, is a Christian lay leader as well as a Beijing-based lawyer. He came to prominence for defending activists and religious minorities before Chinese authorities closed down his law practice in 2005, and arrested him for ‘subversion’ a year later, a charge that is often used by China against government critics.
"After years of disappearance and torture, Zhisheng was finally released from the remote Shaya Prison in Xinjiang, western China on 7 August and went home to relatives, saying his teeth were so loose he could not eat. His latest conviction was for ‘inciting to subvert state power’. A Washington DC-based group, called Freedom Now, which campaigns for prisoners of conscience, says that he had been held in solitary confinement for the whole three years, in a small cell, with minimal light. It said he was fed a single slice of bread and piece of cabbage once a day and had lost roughly 22.5 kg (50 lbs). It also reports he had no access to books, and says “He can barely talk — and only in very short sentences — most of the time he mutters and is unintelligible. It is believed he is now suffering from a broad range of physical and mental health problems; he has not been allowed to see a doctor since his release”.
"His wife and two children escaped China five years ago to live in the US, but he would have to be released with unconditional freedom to be able to join them.
"Other high-profile activists, says Human Rights Watch, are subjected to ongoing restrictions such as house arrest after their release from prison. That China is accusing its human rights lawyers of subversion, it also says, is a clear indication of a battle for values and individual freedoms that is raging in the country..."