Still No Sign of Liu Xia, Weeks After Liu Xiaobo’s Death
Friends and fellow activists expressed growing concern over the disappearance of Liu Xia, widow of Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died on July 13 of liver cancer in police custody.
Liu has been incommunicado since her husband’s burial at sea, and friends say official reports of her statements can’t be regarded as reliable.
She and her brother Liu Hui are believed to be under close surveillance by China’s state security police at an unknown location, amid growing fears for Liu Xia’s mental health.
Beijing-based activist Hu Jia, a friend of Liu Xia’s, said there is currently no fresh news of her since unconfirmed reports emerged that she was taken by state security police on an enforced “vacation” in the southwestern province of Yunnan.
“There is absolutely no news now to indicate what pressure Liu Xia and [her brother] Liu Hui are under,” Hu told RFA on Monday. “Our friends in Yunnan have given us a rather strange response, refusing to confirm or deny the story that she is there.”
“We send someone around there every day, but so far nobody has seen the lights come on again in Liu Xia’s apartment.”
He said that Liu Xia is likely being prevented from contacting any friends or fellow activists in Yunnan, however.
“They want to keep her from having any contact with local people, and they also want to prevent her from attempting suicide or going on hunger strike,” Hu said.
Germany-based writer Liao Yiwu said he is concerned for Liu Xia’s mental health after reading a series of handwritten poems she penned while under house arrest in Beijing last year.
Weariness is a constant theme throughout the writings, Liao said, adding that the words ‘I’m sick of it’ are repeated more than 20 times in the poems he has seen.
They include the phrase ‘I am so sick of it that I can only see the road that can’t be traveled,’ he added.
‘Worse than fascism’
Yu Jie, the U.S.-based author of a book about China’s president titled “Chinese Godfather Xi Jinping,” hit out in a recent speech at the ruling Chinese Communist Party over its treatment of Liu Xia.
“The illegal house arrest of Liu Xia has been akin to a disappearance,” Yu, who recently attended a memorial event for Liu Xiaobo in Taiwan, told RFA. “This is worse than fascism.”
A dissident who asked to remain anonymous said Liu Xiaobo has already taken on the status of martyr in China’s pro-democracy and human rights communities.
“In winning the Nobel Peace Prize and then dying, Liu Xiaobo has become a martyr, so now the authorities are terrified of his widow, and they don’t know what to do with her,” the dissident said. “If they let her go, they are afraid of what she might say.”
But he said there is only a small window of opportunity to put pressure on Beijing to allow her to leave China.
“Liu Xia in particular wants to leave as soon as possible, while Liu Xiaobo’s death is quite recent and the eyes of the world are still focusing on it,” he said.
In Taiwan, Lee Ching-yu, wife of detained NGO worker Lee Ming-cheh, joined in the recent chorus of international voices calling on Beijing to release Liu Xia.
“Didn’t the Chinese authorities say that Liu Xia was free?” Lee told RFA in a recent interview.
“Liu Xiaobo turned himself into a ray of light that shone on our cowardice and called to us all to be more courageous, when faced with this authoritarian system,” Lee said. “Everybody must work together.”
(Reported by Xin Yu and Hwang Chun-mei for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.)
(Liu Xiaobo’s widow Liu Xia holds his photo as an unidentified man (R) carries an urn holding his ashes. Photo: Shenyang City News Bureau)