China rights lawyer gets rare prison visit from relatives: group
WASHINGTON (AFP) - China has allowed relatives to visit imprisoned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng in the first confirmation in months that the prominent dissident is alive, supporters said Wednesday.
Gao, who has defended some of China's most sensitive cases, such as those of underground Christians, the Falungong spiritual movement and dispossessed farmers, has been held virtually incommunicado since February 2009.
Human Rights in China, a New York-based advocacy group, said that Gao's brother and father-in-law visited him on January 12 at a remote prison in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, the first family visit since March 24.
The relatives spoke to the prisoner by telephone through a glass window and "Gao's mind seemed clear and he spoke normally," the group said in a statement.