China allows detained rights lawyer first visit in two years

China’s best known rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, whose case is a sore point in Sino-U.S. relations, was allowed a visit from his family last weekend, the first time he has been seen for nearly two years, his wife said on Wednesday.

The treatment of Gao, whose secretive detention has also drawn criticism from the U.N. human rights body, is one of the thorniest human rights disputes between China and the United States.

Senior Obama administration officials have raised it with Beijing, and the U.S. State Department has called on China to immediately release Gao and clarify his whereabouts.

His wife Geng He, who fled to California with the couple’s children, told Reuters by telephone that Gao met his elder brother and her father last Saturday at the Shaya County prison in far western region Xinjiang.

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