02/21/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Back online, Liu Xia says family “held like hostages”, feels abandoned by everyone

The wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been held unlawfully under house arrest for over four months. On an online chat, she talks to a friend and expresses all her desperation.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Liu Xia and the family of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo's wife feel "miserable," held like "hostages" that "nobody can help", she said in an online chat with a friend. For four months, she has been held under house arrest in violation of Chinese law.

Liu Xiaobo, 55, is known around the world for co-writing and distributing ‘Charter 08’, a manifesto for a democratic China that includes demands to the Chinese government for political and social reforms. After the document’s release, he was arrested, tried and sentenced to 11 years in prison for anti-state subversion. In October of last year, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee announced that it had awarded Liu the Nobel Prize. During the award ceremony in Oslo, Liu’s chair was empty.

The dissident’s family has been harassed since then. For more than four months, Liu Xia has not been able to leave her home and has had very few contacts with the outside world.

Since 16 December, her husband has not been allowed to meet his closest relatives, despite the fact that Chinese law allows monthly visits to prisoners.

She was able however to chat online with a friend last Thursday, the Lantern Festival and last day of the Lunar New Year celebrations.

Liu Xiaobo's wife spent five minutes online. According to the transcript reprinted in the Washington Post, she told her friend Hu Ping that she felt "miserable," that her family was being held like "hostages"; bitterly, she wrote that she had been able to see her husband “once” and that “nobody can help her.”

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