In the following appeal, Ding Zilin (丁子霖), a spokesperson of the Tiananmen Mothers, calls upon the Chinese authorities to immediately lift the house arrest of Liu Xia (刘霞), wife of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波). Liu has been confined with her communications cut off from the outside world since the announcement of the Peace Prize in October 2010.
The Chinese Communist Authorities Must Immediately Return to Ms. Liu Xia the Rights and Freedoms of a Citizen
February 21, 2011
Translated by Human Rights in China
In the four-and-a-half months since October 8, 2010 [the day that Liu Xiaobo was announced as the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize], I have completely lost contact with Ms. Liu Xia. On October 11, she sent us her new mobile phone number. We borrowed a mobile phone to return her call, but by that point the number had been cut off. Later we learned that other friends of hers had also lost communication with her.
As is well known, Ms. Liu Xia is a liberal poet, painter, and photographer. Her passions include freedom, art, and life. Of course, she loves her husband, Dr. Liu Xiaobo, even more; together they’ve supported each other in times of need and adversity.
Because of this, Ms. Liu Xia had expected all the sufferings that were to come: the Chinese Communist authorities taking her husband from her at the end of 2008, formally arresting him six months later, and unlawfully sentencing him to 11 years in prison on Christmas Day in 2009. Before Liu Xiaobo was arrested, she told him more than once: your fate is to sit in a prison cell; mine is to send you food in prison. Ms. Liu Xia is alone now, enduring in silence. She has made her preparations for the endless numbers of times she will be travelling from Beijing to make prison visits in the next eleven years -- she writes him letters and sends him books and clothing. It all seems quite ordinary to her, because she and her husband had already prepared for it.
And yet, who could have foretold that even greater misfortunes would befall her after her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
The Chinese Communist regime used all manner of despicable tactics to block the Nobel Peace Prize from being awarded to Liu Xiaobo. And when they failed, in shame and anger, they took all of their hatred and fury out on not only Liu Xiaobo, but also his wife.
One should consider: since visiting him in the beginning of October 2010, she has not been permitted to see her husband. After the award ceremony in December, she was again placed under complete house arrest by the authorities and totally cut off from her family, her husband’s family, and their friends. This has been the lonely state of her existence: no one to speak with, no contact with others. Can this be the life of a normal person?
We have been calling Ms. Liu Xia continuously since we regained our freedom and means of communication on December 21, 2010. To this day, all we have gotten is this message: “The phone has been turned off.”
Today I saw Ms. Liu Xia’s brief appearance online and the news of her near emotional breakdown. I cannot help but burn with anger, grief, and indignation.
Might I ask the Chinese Communist authorities: what right do you have to inflict such atrocities upon Ms. Liu Xia? And based on which law? If Ms. Liu Xia develops physical and mental problems, who among you will be able to bear the consequences?
How are these atrocities of yours different in nature from what Mao Zedong did during the Cultural Revolution: arresting people indiscriminately at the slightest provocation, not allowing family members to visit their loved ones in prison year after year, and imputing the guilt of one to nine generations of a family?
I implore the Chinese Communist authorities to immediately lift the house arrest of Ms. Liu Xia; restore to her all of the rights of a citizen to personal liberty, speech, and communication; allow her to live the ordinary life of a citizen; and immediately restore her right to visit her husband each month in accordance with law.