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Nobel laureate's wife at a window, the only freedom she is allowed

Nobel laureate’s wife at a window, the only freedom she is allowed

Published on Friday 12 October 2012. Updated on Monday 15 October 2012.
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Reporters Without Borders is releasing an exclusive video showing the artist Liu Xia under house arrest. The wife of China’s jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, she has been subjected to house arrest since October 2010. She is being denied basic freedoms although never convicted by any court.

"The hounding of Liu Xiaobo’s family, especially Liu Xia, must stop at once," Reporters Without Borders said. "The surveillance to which she is being subjected is not only unacceptable but also completely illegal. Liu Xia is the victim of psychological harassment for the sole reason that she is Liu Xiaobo’s wife. We demand the immediate end to this undeclared imprisonment.

"The video of Liu Xia that we are releasing today is very short and lacks detail, but is very symbolic. Smoking a cigarette at her window is one of the few freedoms left to her. The difficulty of obtaining this footage is also indicative of the isolation imposed on her and the danger to which anyone trying to approach her home is exposed.

"We continue to demand Liu Xiaobo’s immediate release. His detention constitutes a grave human rights violation with regard to international standards and, in particular, article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Chinese government has signed."

Soon after the release of the video, dissident Hu Jia, also under house arrest, sent a message to Reporters Without Borders :

"Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia are my friends. Both Liu Xiaobo and I have been convicted and jailed by the Communist Party on a charge of "inciting subversion of the state’s authority." Liu Xia has been kept in isolation illegally for the past two years. My wife, Zeng Jinyan, experienced the same fate. We fully understand what Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia are suffering", Hu Jia said.

"By jailing the Nobel peace laureate and by placing his wife under house arrest, turning her into a political prisoner, the Chinese Communist Party is violating human rights. These actions are a source of shame for China."

"As a Chinese citizen, I have a duty to help Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia to break their chains, I have a duty to fight for their freedom. In the past month, I have seen Liu Xia’s solitude and powerlessness even more clearly. I hereby call on the international community and the Chinese public to ensure that Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia are freed. Let us all speak out together to put pressure on the dictators", concluded the dissident.

The authorities have stepped up harassment of Liu Xia in recent months. According to the BBC, two policemen are living full-time at her home while others, in plain clothes, keep a constant watch on the outside of her apartment building. She is only allowed contact with her mother and a few friends. Her movements outside the apartment are very limited and closely watched.

Winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his defence of human rights in China, the writer Liu Xiaobo continues to be held in Jinzhou prison in the northeastern province of Liaoning, where he has limited contact with his family, although the regulations provide for frequent visits.

Only three people are allowed to visit him: Liu Xia, who is allowed to visit him every two or three months, and his two brothers, who are able to travel to Jinzhou twice a year.

With few exceptions, Liu Xiaobo is permitted only one visitor at a time. These visits have to be scheduled well in advance and are subject to surveillance from beginning to end. The prison authorities control the subject of his conversations with his visitors and ensure that he is given no information from the outside world.

As a member of the Liu Xiaobo Support Committee, Reporters Without Borders is also relaying the press release that the committee issued in advance of the announcement of the winner of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.

International Support Committee to Liu Xiaobo

Press Release

12.10.2012

On the eve of the announcement of a new Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the following organizations :

Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), Act for Human Rights (ADH), Tibetan People Support Committee (CSPT), Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Freedom Now, Human Rights Foundation (HRF), International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), Human Rights League (LDH), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Global Justice Center (GJC), China Solidarity and Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM),

members of the Support Committee for Liu Xiaobo request, once again, a strong mobilization of the international community for the release of Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, distinguished for his "endless efforts and non-violent struggle in favour of human rights in China. "

Liu Xiaobo is currently serving an 11-year sentence in prison for defending freedom and democracy and participating in the drafting of the "Charter 08", a manifesto endorsed by more than ten thousand Chinese citizens, advocating the plurality of political parties, the independence of the judiciary and respect of human rights.

He has been incarcerated since December 2008 and is currently in Jinzhou Prison, located in the province of Liaoning with little contact with his family. This is a flagrant violation of the law. Only three people are allowed to visit Liu Xiaobo: his wife, Liu Xia, who has the right to visit him every two or three months, and his two brothers who can visit him at Jinzhou Prison twice a year. Visits must be individual (with rare exceptions), scheduled in advance, and are strictly supervised. Prison authorities closely monitor the topics of conversations between Liu Xiaobo and his family, in order to ensure that no information from outside is passed to the writer.

The treatment of Liu Xiaobo constitutes a serious violation of human rights under international law and the provisions of the Chinese Constitution.

The members of the Committee express their deep concern over reports that the Chinese authorities are increasing their pressure on his wife Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since October 2010, and making the conditions of her daily life extremely difficult. Two policewomen live permanently at her residence, while others in civilian clothes monitor continuously the area around the building in order to avoid any contact with the outside world.

Faced with the inflexibility and deafness of the authorities, the Support Committee for Liu Xiaobo is calling on international bodies and national governments to intensify their efforts to ensure the release of the only Nobel Laureate in the world who is currently imprisoned.

Contact Support Committee for Liu Xiaobo: comiteliuxiaobo@gmail.com

The Liu Xiaobo Support Committee consists of Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), Act for Human Rights (ADH), Tibetan People Support Committee (CSPT), Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Freedom Now, Human Rights Foundation (HRF), International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), Human Rights League (LDH), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Global Justice Center (GJC), Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) and China Solidarity, as well as the Nobel peace laureates Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Ms. Jody Williams, Arch. Desmond Tutu, Ms. Mairead Maguire, Ms. Betty Williams, Ms. Tawakkol Karman and had Mr. Vaclav Havel’s initial support.

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