It was sad to find out that Gao Zhisheng has given up his fight to maintain rule of law in China, and instead wants to live a quiet life in the hopes of being reunited with his family in the United States.
The AP reported that in a face-to-face interview, Gao had lost a considerable amount of weight and teared up when thinking of his wife, son and daughter separated from him. "I don't have the capacity to persevere," he said. "On the one hand, it's my past experiences. It's also that these experiences greatly hurt my loved ones. This ultimate choice of mine, after a process of deep and careful thought, is to seek the goal of peace and calm."
It hit him hard when he returned home for the first time earlier this week and saw the shoes they left behind.
"I completely lost control of my emotions, because to me these are the three dearest people in the world and now, we're like a kite with a broken string," he said.
Gao, 44, didn't want to talk about his detention or where he was held for over a year.
He instead focused on what seemed like his enlightenment and desire to better himself.
"You know that past life of mine was abnormal, and I need to give up that former life," he said. "I hope I can become part of the peaceful life of the big family."
He later added, "You know the main basis for choosing to give up is for the sake of family feelings," he said. "I hope I can reunite with them. My children need me by their side growing up."
It is understandable that after all the harassment, physical and mental torture, and detainment Gao has gone through, that he would much rather lead a quiet life and be with his family.
However, with them in the US, one wonders how he will get there; maybe he will have to agree to a life of exile. And perhaps he is hoping with his new reformed self and good behaviour that this may happen eventually.
For those watching the fight for justice in China on the sidelines, it must be disappointing to hear the once feisty lawyer give up his battle against the government and try to live a normal life again.
Perhaps his statements are meant to serve as a warning to others who think they can challenge the government through the law -- that they will have to endure what he has gone through and that in the end it's not worth it.
Or perhaps it has made them even more determined to fight for justice, even if it means being forcibly separated from the ones you love.