06/10/2013, 00.00
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Liu Xiaobo’s brother in law sentenced to 11 years in prison

The fraud charges had been dropped at first but later picked up as a criminal case. Liu Xia: I can’t see any hope. Xi Jinping follows in the footsteps of Mao, who persecuted dissidents and their families.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The court of Huairou (Beijing) has sentenced Liu Hui, the brother in law of the writer and dissident Liu Xiaobo, to 11 years in prison for fraud. The 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate is also serving a sentence of 11 years for "subversion of state power". According to Liu Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia, the sentence is a sign of the government's aggression towards his family.

Defense lawyers argue that the judgment against Liu Hui is too harsh and that the case should not have been treated as a criminal case, but civil.
Liu Hui and his partner in a real estate company, have been accused of having pocketed 3 million Yuan, that was claimed by another party to the transaction. According to the lawyers, the money has since been returned, and police - after first investigating the case last autumn - dropped it, but then revived the charges which led to the sentence yesterday.

Liu Xia, sister of the offender, was allowed to attend the trial: although not accused of anything, she lives under house arrest in Beijing, without the possibility of communication with the outside world. Coming out of the courtroom crying commented: " I absolutely cannot accept this. This is simply persecution" (see photo).

"Seeing what is happening to my family - she added - and the kind of life I have spent in the past two years, I can not say that [in China] there are improvements. I have completely lost hope."

The takeover of Xi Jinping, last November, had aroused many hopes among activists because Xi is known as a "reformist". Instead, more than six months later, censorship seems to have increased, as well as the arrests of dissidents and control of information. The same Xi on some occasions praised the legacy of Mao. At the time of the Great Helmsman it was the norm to persecute a person and his entire family.


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