Detained China Nobel wife speaks out

Last Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 - 00:52

Beijing: Stunned that reporters were able to visit her, Liu Xia trembled uncontrollably and cried on Thursday as she described how absurd and emotionally draining her confinement under house arrest has been in the two years since her jailed activist husband, Liu Xiaobo, was named a Nobel Peace laureate.

In her first interview in 26 months, Liu Xia spoke briefly with journalists from The Associated Press who managed to visit her apartment while the guards who watch it apparently stepped away for lunch. Her voice shook and she was breathless from disbelief at receiving unexpected visitors.

Liu said her continuing house arrest has been painfully surreal and in stark contrast to Beijing`s celebratory response to this year`s Chinese victory among the Nobels literature prize winner Mo Yan.

Liu said she has been confined to her duplex apartment in downtown Beijing with no Internet or outside phone line and is only allowed weekly trips to buy groceries and visit her parents.

"We live in such an absurd place," she said. "It is so absurd. I felt I was a person emotionally prepared to respond to the consequences of Liu Xiaobo winning the prize. But after he won the prize, I really never imagined that after he won, I would not be able to leave my home. This is too absurd. I think Kafka could not have written anything more absurd and unbelievable than this."

Once a month, she is taken to see her husband in prison. It wasn`t clear when Liu Xia started regular visits with her husband or if they would continue following her interview.

She was denied visits for more than a year after she saw him two days after his Nobel win and emerged to tell the world that he had dedicated the award to those who died in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

Liu Xiaobo is four years into an 11-year prison term for subversion for authoring and disseminating a programmatic call for democracy, Charter `08. In awarding him the peace prize, the Nobel committee cited that proposal and his two decades of nonviolent struggle for civil rights.

Beijing condemned Liu`s 2010 award, saying it tarnished the committee`s reputation to bestow it on a jailed criminal. That fury was replaced with jubilation and pride this year, after the announcement that Mo who has been embraced by China`s communist government had been named winner of the Nobel literature prize.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 7, 2012 - 00:52

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