May 3, 2018
   Posted in News From Other Sites
Protesters display a portrait of Liu Xiaobo and his detained wife Liu Xia.
Liu Xia, wife of the late human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, says she has nothing left to live for, in phone call with exiled friend
Protesters display a portrait of Liu Xiaobo and his detained wife Liu Xia. Photograph: Vincent Yu/AP

Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, has said she is ready to die in protest at being held under house arrest in China for more than seven years.

“Now, I’ve got nothing to be afraid of. If I can’t leave, I’ll die in my home. Xiaobo is gone, and there’s nothing in the world for me now. It’s easier to die than live. Using death to defy could not be any simpler for me,” she said, according to a phone call on 30 April, recorded by her friend and exiled writer, Liao Yiwu, and posted online.

Liu, 50, has been under house arrest since 2010 after her husband, Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel peace prize in absentia for his activism in China. Her husband, a civil rights campaigner, was jailed in 2009 for subversion and died last year from liver cancer while serving an 11-year prison sentence.

In an excerpt of the 16-minute phone call with Liao, Liu is heard crying and cursing. “I’m so fucking angry that I’m ready to die here … If I’m dead, it’ll all be done with.”

At one point, Liu cries for several minutes. In the recording, Liao plays the song Dona, Dona, from a Yiddish song released during the second world war about a calf being led to slaughter.

“Please allow me to use Liu Xia’s sobbing as its new lyrics,” Liao wrote. “Dona, Dona, give her freedom. Dona, Dona, please cry out loudly for her.”

Advocates have repeatedly called for Liu’s release. A former civil servant and a poet, she has never been charged with or convicted of a crime. Chinese authorities insist she “enjoys all freedoms in accordance with the law”, but friends and advocates say her movements have been severely restricted and she lives under constant surveillance.

During this time both of Liu’s parents died and she has been taken to hospital at least twice for a heart condition. According to the rights activists, Liu has told her lawyer about having severe depression.

After her husband’s death, Liu’s supporters hoped she would be allowed to leave the country.

“First they told her to wait until the party congress was over; next they told her to wait until the conclusion of the ‘Two Sessions’ in Beijing in March of this year,” Liao wrote in his post on the US-based human rights site, Chinachange.org, citing legislative meetings held late last year and this year.

Germany and the US have both called on China to remove restrictions on Liu and allow her to leave the country. But activists say Chinese authorities are likely to keep her silenced to prevent her from becoming a symbol or rallying point for other dissidents.

“The cruelty the Chinese government has shown Liu Xia is a chilling signal for human rights defenders across the country that Xi Jinping’s regime does not care about international pressure. She’s never been suspected, charged or convicted of a crime, but has lived in a prison for eight years,” said Frances Eve, a researcher with the advocacy group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders. “Xi Jinping needs to let her go.”

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