A letter from GAO Zhisheng (1)

A few days ago, I saw many people retweeting a message about helping brother of human rights lawyer GAO Zhisheng selling his dates. Briefly:

After his release as a from prison,高智晟 Zhisheng, the once hailed as best lawyer of the year  but later enemy of the state all by the Chinese government, now lives with his brother in China while his family on exile in America. Gao’s brother grows dates but this year business did not go well due to no dealer went to the village to purchase the harvest. So people suggested him to sell the dates on line and many helped him disseminate the information.

Then a few days later, I saw two letter from Gao Zhisheng about the dates selling issue, and I am very touched by his writing, so I translated both of the letters.

This is the first letter GAO Zhisheng wrote about people’s helping his elder brother’s selling dates online.

Dear Brother YANG Hai and (please cc) Mr. HU Jia, First I want to express my greetings to you and also my appreciation—for your great help to my elder brother, regarding his selling dates.

Last evening at supper, I felt a bit uneasy after knowing that many people wanted to buy dates from my elder brother.  Many people are selling dates online, but not as popular as his. I put down my bowl and read some information on my nephew’s WeChat, some content made me troubled. First, to say the “dates of elder brother of GAO Zhisheng” implies some other meaning. And to mark them “Category Premium” and “Category A” is even more inappropriate. This is the result of the young relatives simply adopting advertisement words. There is in fact no categorisation of dates produced in northern Shanxi province. The commercial words might make purchasers hold higher expectation for the outlook of the dates to be perfect, and would lead to big misunderstandings.

Traditional northern Shanxi red dates are small, though in recent years, some egg sized ones also appear on market, they are the result of grafting for more commercial gains, local people only eat small dates.

The dates are naturally grown and authentic green products. The dates trees grow on slopes, no irrigation and never fertilised, this is why they do not look beautiful. There are many advantages of eating northern Shanxi dates. After I come back, every morning, I use boiled water to make soybean milk, and I add seven dates in it, cover for half an hour, and then enjoy it, as a routine.

This August, I found that in one box with both big and small dates, small ones were all eaten by insects and bigger ones intact. Regarding “honesty” and “shrewdness”, the small worms are right on the contrary to those big worms surrounding us that always choose the fattest part. Compared to the big worms, the small ones have their advantage here of being thoughtless.

I shall not write anything, it is said that my writings are not good for “state security”, though being completely isolated from the outside world, I can not know whether this is true. However I feel uneasy with regard to my elder brother’s children’ description of the dates among friends circles, thus, I use their WeChat to make this explaination, and hope that all friends bought or prepare to buy the dates will see my letter. Again, I thank you all, my friends.

With love,

GAO Zhisheng

Morning, December 16, 2015


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