Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xia’s house arrest a matter for China alone, says spokesman after international writers’ appeal

Foreign Ministry unmoved following campaign on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo’s widow, kept guarded without charge for eight years

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 2:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 2:42pm

China appears to have rejected an appeal from dozens of writers and artists for the release from house arrest of Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Thursday that Liu Xia’s right to travel was an issue for the Chinese government alone to determine.

Liu Xia has never been charged with a crime, but has been kept guarded and isolated since her husband was awarded the 2010 prize.

International writers join Amnesty and PEN in calls for China to free Liu Xiaobo’s ‘helpless and hopeless’ widow

“It is a matter that falls within China’s judicial sovereignty,” Lu said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

“She is a Chinese national (and) we of course handle the relevant issue in accordance with our laws and regulations.”

Lu’s comments came after writers and artists including South African novelist and Nobel winner JM Coetzee, Rita Dove, Paul Auster, Khaled Hosseini and Michael Chabon read excerpts of Liu Xia’s poetry as part of a video campaign.

‘There is nothing I fear now’: Liu Xia, detained widow of Liu Xiaobo, tells exiled friend she is ready to ‘die at home’ in protest

Liu Xiaobo died of cancer last year while serving a prison sentence for incitement to subvert government power.

In a news release about the video readings, Amnesty International said: “The excerpts celebrate some of Liu Xia’s most powerful works while calling on the Chinese government to end their cruel campaign of retaliation against her for her late husband Liu Xiaobo’s calls for democratic reform.”

Germany, US renew calls for release of Liu Xiaobo’s widow from house arrest

Germany said earlier this month it would welcome Liu, who suffers from depression and is believed to be in declining health, after a recording was released of her crying in desperation and indicating she has given up hope of being able to leave China.

“If I can’t leave, I’ll die in my home,” Liu said during the recent phone call with her close friend Liao Yiwu, a writer who documented their conversation.