‘Where is my husband?’

‘Where is my husband?’

Foreign Policy contributing editor Christina Larson writes:

"I will go out to do some errands." That is the last thing that Geng He remembers her husband, Gao Zhisheng, saying to her. She recalls that was wearing a casual black leather jacket and jeans, his usual attire. But since that brisk morning more than three years ago, he has not returned.

Gao is one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers. He is a devout Christian and has defended religious minorities and documented human rights abuses in China. In December 2006, he was charged with "subversion," and in early 2009 he was "disappeared," presumably taken away for police interrogation. Where he is now is not certain.

Geng spoke to Foreign Policy through her lawyer on Tuesday. She was in Washington to testify about his case before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. It was the same day that China’s president-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, arrived in town to visit the White House and Pentagon.

Actually, she did see him one time after he disappeared, in a news photograph that appeared in April 2010. He didn’t look well. "I was very worried about his health. I would very much like him to see a doctor and dentist to make sure he is okay."

Geng He and Gao Zhisheng have two children: a son who is almost 9, and a daughter who is almost 19. Geng was 23 and Gao was 26 when they married on August 1, 1990. What the future would entail for a studious lawyer who chose to stand up for principle, neither of them could then foresee.