Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo still imprisoned. Wife under house arrest. What does the West have to say? Crickets.


She’s been silenced. He’s in prison.

Liu Xiaobo. Remember him? The writer, critic, and former professor was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” The Chinese dissident has been imprisoned since 2008 after helping to draft Charter 08, a manifesto calling for sweeping changes in China’s government that was signed by thousands of supporters.

So what does the West have to say about it? Crickets.

From Radio Free Asia:

Five years after being awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, activists are calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to release his wife Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest at the couple’s Beijing apartment since her husband’s award was announced.

Beijing rights activist Hu Jia, a close friend of the Lius, said the Nobel award has had huge repercussions for the activist’s entire extended family.

“[Liu Xia’s] brother was sentenced to 11 years in jail, which was entirely because of his connection to the Lius,” Hu told RFA.

“But the worst persecution has been the way they have cut off Liu Xia’s communication with the outside world, and silenced her,” he said.

While Liu Hui has since been released from prison, he remains under bail conditions, and is an important form of leverage over Liu Xia, Hu said.

liuxiaobo“Basically, they are effectively saying to Liu Xia that if she has any contact with the outside world, people like me, foreign diplomats or journalists, then they can put her brother back in jail again,” he said.

“So she has no way to speak out either on her husband’s behalf, or her own.”

As for Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo himself:

In June 2014, the authorities turned down an application for parole from Liu’s lawyers, who said he can’t make a fresh request for another three years from that date.

In the application, Liu, 60, criticized the prison authorities for denying him the right to be in contact with friends and family, which is against China’s Constitution.

However, he is unlikely to qualify for parole, because he has never admitted to committing any crime.

His lawyers say Liu still follows political developments in China, where the administration of President Xi Jinping launched a nationwide police operation that has detained nearly 300 rights attorneys, paralegals, and legal activists since early July.

Read the rest here. Read here for Liu Xia’s 2011 desperate internet message: “I’m crying. Nobody can help me.”

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5 Responses to “Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo still imprisoned. Wife under house arrest. What does the West have to say? Crickets.”

  1. Arielle Emmett Says:

    Liu Xia has suffered tremendously, as her husband has, and anyone who signed Charter 08. The CCP continues the brutal repression and has expanded it. Many prominent dissidents have been jailed or killed. Honestly, I am at a loss to understand how those men in power can sleep at night. Including our own.

    Keep spreading the word, Cynthia. Ultimately, human rights has to come back on the table as a number 1 national priority — Jimmy Carter has it right. Citizens need to organize to resist a police state. The best way to do this is through organized nonviolent civil resistance including strikes, work stoppages, and mass protests with a specific agenda — namely, democracy, release of political dissidents, elections. Read Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall’s A Force More Powerful which is the best playbook I’ve ever read on non-violent civil resistance and the many countries where it has worked.

    Thanks for mentioning Liu Xiao Bo and Liu Xia. Arielle

  2. Cynthia Haven Says:

    Thanks for this, Arielle. Your firsthand experience is most welcome.

  3. Jeff S. Says:

    Thanks for keeping this on the radar screens of those of us who care but don’t always quite know what to do about it. Does it help, I wonder, if we buy his books?

    Along the same lines: I was reading tonight about Mohammed Rashid al-Ajami, who’s serving a 15-year (reduced!) prison sentence in Qatar for writing poems supposedly critical of the government. It’s dismaying that I can’t find English translations of the two poems that got him in trouble. PEN and Amnesty are on the case, but I can’t help but think that the absurdity of al-Ajami’s situation would be all the more apparent in the West if we could read what are likely very mild poems. Makes me wish I could read Arabic.

  4. Cynthia Haven Says:

    You’re right, as always, Jeff.

  5. Frankie Leung Says:

    Liu Xiao Bo was convicted of a crime based on his exercise of his freedom of speech. He was sentenced to imprisonment for 11 years. His wife Liu Xia was put under house arrest and harassed.