China Nobel laureate wife fears going ‘crazy’: activists
The wife of China’s jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo said she was “going to go crazy” under house arrest, human rights advocates said Tuesday.
Liu Xia was placed under house arrest in October after the Norwegian committee announced the prestigious award for her husband, a writer who authored a bold petition for political reform in communist-ruled China.
While she has not been seen in public since, the PEN American Center, group of writers who support human rights, said she briefly accessed the Internet during the Chinese Lunar New Year.
She sent a message to a friend saying that “she and her family were being held hostage by the government and that she was ‘going to go crazy'” in her Beijing apartment, the center said in a statement.
The New York-based PEN American Center expressed concern about the treatment of Liu Xia, along with the recent disappearances of rights activists amid a web campaign that urged protests in China to mark recent revolts in the Middle East.
“These persistent attacks on the fundamental freedoms of China’s own citizens threaten the prospects for good relations with those of us who have the privilege of living in free societies,” said Kwame Anthony Appiah, the center’s president.
“It seems to me that the Chinese government has drawn the wrong lesson from the wave of resistance to oppression they can see on their televisions in Africa and the Middle East. The right lesson is that the voices of the people need to be heard,” said Appiah, a cultural theorist who has written about ways to force social change.
Liu, a former president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Christmas Day in 2009 on subversion charges after co-authoring the “Charter 08” petition.
According to a Hong Kong rights group, Liu Xia was allowed to leave her home to dine with her elderly parents when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Washington last month but has been again placed under strict surveillance.