News / Asia

Nobel Laureate's Wife a Prisoner in China as Well

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (L) his wife Liu Xia (file photo)
Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (L) his wife Liu Xia (file photo)

It has been a year since imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and yet little has changed. Liu remains behind bars and his wife, Liu Xia, has become a prisoner in China as well.  She is under house arrest, cut off from the outside world and prohibited from seeing all but a few family members.

Liu Xia has been progressively deprived of her contact with the outside world since shortly after her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch, says the Chinese government has not been shy about persecuting Liu Xiaobo's family members.

The past year, she says, has been miserable for Liu Xia. "In the one brief incident when she was able to get online and tweet, she used that very word herself - 'miserable' - to describe her own circumstances, and that she was being held quote hostage with her family by the government," said Richardson.

According to human rights advocates and reports from China, Liu Xia is being held at a residence in the suburbs of Beijing.

Amnesty International says Liu Xia's mother, who lives in the same complex, has been allowed to visit her daughter only occasionally.  Family members are pressured by police not to reveal any details of Liu Xia's situation.  

Until a few months ago, Liu Xia was allowed to visit Liu Xiaobo in prison.  Recently, Liu himself was allowed out of prison for part of a day to attend a memorial service for his father.

Chinese authorities have thwarted all attempts by journalists and diplomats to contact Liu Xia - either by personal visits, telephone or through the Internet.

"If they try the electronic means, there is no access essentially because Liu Xia and her family members aren't able to receive those calls or emails of tweets," said Richardson. "And the house is on a street, there are guards who are posted there - sometimes they are in uniform and sometimes they are not - who simply prevent people from even approaching the gate."

Chinese authorities maintain that Liu Xia is free, and allowed to do whatever she wants.

However, rights activists say the treatment Liu Xia and the family of Liu Xiaobo are receiving is not uncommon.

The family of Chen Guangcheng, a blind activist lawyer who was released from prison last year, has been put under house arrest even he served four years in jail.  Because of this, his daughter is unable to attend school.

Chen was sentenced to prison after he campaigned to stop authorities from forcing peasants to have abortions or be sterilized.

Sharon Hom is executive director of Human Rights in China. "The key point is that [Liu Xia's situation] is reflective of the human-rights situation in China today: of the enforced disappearances of the writers, the artists, the bloggers, the defenders.  And her situation is really reflective of the broader situation, that requires much greater international scrutinty and attention," she said.   

Rights activists and political analysts believe part of this intensified effort to clamp down is linked to China's upcoming leadership transition in 2012, and that it is also an attempt to prevent any "Arab Spring" type of activism from taking root in China.

What is even more worrying, rights advocates say, is that China is also looking at changes to its laws that would allow authorities to hold individuals under a form of residential surveillance for up to six months - but not in their own homes.

"The Chinese government's response to international pressure over the disappearances of lawyers, writers, bloggers earlier in the year as a means of stamping out any possible 'Arab Spring' in China was met not with a decision to stop using those tactics, but quite perversely by an inclination to legalize them," said Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch.

Given the hardening security environment in China, rights activists say it's doubtful Liu Xia's situation will change any time soon.  And with amendments on the table to China's Criminal Procedure Law, they express concern that authorities' ability to make dissidents disappear may not ease off, but expand.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid