Detained Chinese Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo’s wife claims her family is ‘hostage’

Sunday, February 20, 2011

BEIJING - The wife of the Chinese imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has told a friend online that her ‘whole family has been held hostage’, adding that she had seen her husband only once since his Nobel award was announced in October, the friend’s transcript of the conversation has revealed.

The chat took place after Liu Xia succeeded in getting an Internet connection for about five minutes late Thursday evening, while Chinese were celebrating the Lantern Festival, the last day of the Lunar New Year celebrations. Her friend happened to be online at that time, The Washington Post reports.

In her first known communication since she disappeared from public view over four months ago, Liu Xia wrote: “I’m crazy. I don’t know how I managed to get online,” Liu Xia wrote to the friend in her post. Don’t go online. Otherwise my whole family is in danger.”

When the friend asked her whether she was at home, Xia wrote in Pinyin, the Chinese transliteration system, saying: “Yes. Can’t go out. My whole family is hostages,” and apparently referred to her husband saying: “I only saw him once. I’m crying. Nobody can help me.”

The friend, who was worried about her safety, said: “Please log out first. We miss you and support you. We will wait for you outside,” to which Xia replied: “Goodbye” and “Okay,” and the chat ended.

The friend then reportedly provided the transcript of the conversation to the Washington Post with the intention of making people aware of her plight in China.

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 after the 53-year-old literary scholar was convicted of “inciting subversion to state power” through his writings and role in Charter 08, an online petition calling for more democracy and greater freedom of expression in China. (ANI)

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