Posts Tagged ‘Liao Yiwu’

Chinese Nobel widow Liu Xia ready to ‘die at home’ in protest

May 3, 2018

The tragedy of China’s inability to accept human rights and those that speak out is being replayed yet again…

Liu Xia, wife of veteran Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, listens to a question during an interview in Beijing, China June 24, 2009.
Chinese authorities insist that Liu Xia is a free citizen. Reuters photo

The widow of China’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has said she is ready to die in protest at being held under house arrest by Chinese authorities.

Liu Xia, 57, has been under house arrest since 2010, after her husband was awarded the Nobel prize. She has never been charged with any crime.

Liu Xiaobo was one of China’s foremost pro-democracy campaigners and a fierce critic of the state.

He died last year while serving an 11-year jail sentence for “subversion”.

There has been growing concern for Ms Liu since her husband’s death.

The poet is said to be suffering from depression after spending years under heavy surveillance, and her friends and lawyer say they believe she is being held “incommunicado”. Journalists have been blocked from visiting her.

Advocacy groups have for years called on Beijing to free Liu Xia but the Chinese authorities insists that she is a free citizen, and that the grief induced by her husband’s death has prevented her from getting in touch.

Ms Liu’s friend Liao Yiwu said he spoke by phone to Ms Liu earlier this week, where she said it was “easier to die than live. Using death to defy could not be any simpler for me.”

Writing on the website ChinaChange, Mr Liao, a writer who now lives in Germany, said Ms Liu also told him: “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.”

Mr Liao also uploaded a recording of a phone conversation he had earlier in April with Ms Liu, where she can be heard crying for several minutes, and saying: “I’m ready to die here… if I’m dead, it’ll all be done with.”

People attend a candlelight march for the late Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo in Hong Kong on July 15, 2017.
Liu Xiaobo was branded a criminal by authorities and repeatedly jailed throughout his life. Getty Imgaes

Western diplomats have called on Beijing to allow Ms Liu to travel abroad, and the German ambassador to China has told the South China Morning Post that she is welcome to go to Germany.

On Thursday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she did not have information on Ms Liu’s situation.

“Liu Xia is a Chinese citizen. The relevant Chinese authorities will handle relevant issues in accordance with the law,” she said.

Mr Liu, 61, was the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who died in Nazi Germany in 1938.

He had been undergoing treatment for terminal liver cancer.



Widow of dissident Liu Xiaobo is losing hope of leaving China, friend says

May 3, 2018

Liu Xia, the widow of China’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident, Liu Xiaobo, is losing hope of leaving the country and says she may die there, a friend who recently spoke to her by telephone has said.

Related image

FILE PHOTO: Liu Xia, wife of the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, hold his photo in a file photo

Liu Xia, a poet and artist who suffers from depression, has effectively been under house arrest since her husband won the prize in 2010. Liu Xiaobo died in Chinese custody in July last year, after being denied permission to go abroad for treatment of advanced liver cancer.

Delayed talks between China and Western governments about the possibility of Liu Xia moving abroad have sparked fears in recent weeks that Beijing will not let her, a Western diplomat involved in the case told Reuters.

“Now I’ve got nothing to be afraid of. If I can’t leave, I’ll die in my home,” Liu Xia said on Monday in a telephone call with Liao Yiwu, a Chinese writer living in Germany.

Their conversation was quoted by Liao on Wednesday in an essay on, a blog that regularly publishes content from Chinese dissidents and activists.

“Using death to defy could not be any simpler for me,” Liu Xia said, according to the post.

Liao said he and other friends of Liu Xia had been making preparations for her to come to Germany and receive treatment.

Liao also released a recording of a previous telephone conversation from April 8, when he encouraged a weeping Liu Xia to keep up hope and continue applying to leave China.

Reuters was unable to reach Liu Xia for comment. China’s justice department and foreign ministry did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment on Liao’s essay.

China has previously said that Liu Xia, as a private citizen, is free to do as she pleases and that the details of the case remain an internal affair.

In the past, Chinese dissidents have been allowed to leave the country and take up residence in a willing Western nation.

However, since coming to power in 2013, President Xi Jinping has presided over a sweeping campaign to quash dissent throughout Chinese society, detaining hundreds of rights activists and lawyers, with dozens jailed.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Darren Schuettler


Chinese dissident’s widow sends desperate letter

December 14, 2017



© Shenyang Municipal Information Office/AFP/File | Liu Xia (C) holds a portrait of her late husband, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, after his death in July 2017

BEIJING (AFP) – Friends of the late Chinese democracy advocate and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo voiced concern about his widow’s health on Thursday after she sent a letter showing signs of deep depression.The poet Liu Xia, 56, has been under police watch without charges since her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, a recognition that deeply angered the Communist regime.

In a letter written in the form of a poem to the 2009 Nobel Literature Prize Laureate Herta Mueller, Liu said she was “going mad”.

“Too solitary / I have not the right to speech / To speak loudly / I live like a plant / I lie like a corpse,” the poem read.

Exiled Chinese dissident and author Liao Yiwu posted a photo of the letter on his Facebook account on December 9.

The Chinese handwriting appeared to match previously published letters from Liu, who has been under de facto house arrest in her Beijing home for the past seven years.

“I shared her words in the hope of urging Western governments to talk with the Chinese government on this issue and let her go as soon as possible,” Liao told AFP by phone from Berlin.

Liao said the widow had sent the poem “recently”, but declined to say how she was able to get it out.

“She is taking a lot of medicine to control her depression. If she doesn’t take medicine, her heart will jump like crazy. She fainted once,” he added.

Another friend, who declined to give his name because he lives in Beijing, said he has not been able to reach Liu since August.

“She must be under tight police control,” he said.

The United States and European Union have called on President Xi Jinping’s government to free the widow and let her go abroad.

“Foreign governments should press for Liu Xia’s release publicly and at the highest level to let the Chinese government know that she is not forgotten,” Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang told AFP.

Her husband was a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and was detained in 2008 after co-writing Charter 08, a petition calling for democratic reforms.

Following Liu Xiaobo’s terminal cancer diagnosis, the democracy advocate requested to receive treatment abroad — a wish that friends believe was in reality for his wife’s sake.

But the authorities refused to let him go and he died in July this year.

Nobel winner Liu wants cancer treatment abroad, friends say

June 29, 2017
© LIU FAMILY/AFP/File / by Joanna CHIU | Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo (L) and his wife Liu Xia in Beijing in 2002

BEIJING (AFP) – Terminally-ill Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo wants Chinese authorities to let him get treatment abroad, friends say, as officials said his cancer has spread throughout his body.

Prominent Chinese dissident writer Liao Yiwu told AFP that Liu’s wife sent a formal request to China’s state security ministry requesting permission for the couple and her brother to leave the country.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for “subversion” after calling for democratic reforms, was released on medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer last month, his lawyer said this week.

His wife, Liu Xia, sent the request before the diagnosis, but family friends say the couple wants the 61-year-old democracy campaigner to be treated abroad.

“I learned two weeks ago that Liu Xiaobo said that if he dies, he wants to die in the West,” Liao, a family friend who lives in Germany, said in a phone interview.

Another friend, who requested anonymity out of fear of persecution, told AFP he had received similar information from family sources.

Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon, citing people close to the family, said: “Liu Xia indeed wants Liu Xiaobo to get medical care abroad.” But the rights watchdog was unable to verify if the Nobel winner laureate himself has expressed those wishes.

The state security ministry could not be reached for comment.

Liao said he also received a handwritten letter from Liu’s wife in April in which she says her husband wants to leave China.

“I am sick of my life, this grotesque life… I long to escape,” Liu Xia, who has suffered from heart problems and depression, writes in the missive, which Liao posted online.

“I can hardly believe that Xiaobo agreed to leave China together with me and (my brother). I am grateful to you and to our friends for everything you’ve been doing and cannot wait to embrace you,” it added.

Liao said he sent the letter to the US and German governments.

The US and German embassies in Beijing declined to comment.

The new US ambassador to Beijing, Terry Branstad, said on Wednesday that he would like to see Liu have the option of treatment abroad, echoing a growing chorus of Chinese and foreign human rights activists.

Taiwan on Wednesday also urged Beijing to release Liu and offered him medical treatment in a move that could stoke tensions between China and the self-ruled island.

Asked to respond to Taiwan’s offer, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Thursday said: “What you’re talking about is China’s internal affairs. It has no concern with China’s diplomacy.”

“I’m not aware of what you said and it’s not a diplomatic question,” Lu said.

– Prison video surfaces –

Authorities in the northeastern city of Shenyang, where Liu is being treated, said late Wednesday that he was taken to a hospital after he was found to be unwell on May 31.

On June 7, cancer experts at China Medical University No 1 Hospital determined that Liu had “liver cancer with systemic metastasis”, meaning it has spread to the rest of his body, the Shenyang legal bureau said in a statement.

Liu’s wife and other family members were with him at the hospital and they expressed “satisfaction” with the treatment, the statement said.

Meanwhile, a video showing Liu undergoing medical exams in prison was posted on YouTube by US-based Chinese-language news site Boxun late Wednesday.

In the video, Liu says he is “grateful” for the “really good care” he has received from prison doctors.

Liu is seen playing badminton in a prison yard, getting an ultrasound and undergoing a CT scan.

Speaking with his wife in a prison visiting room divided by glass, Liu tells her that he “had a physical exam, they took blood… it’s very good.”

Boxun did not specify where the footage came from or where and when it was filmed. The site’s editors and prison authorities could not be reached for comment.

Amnesty questioned the timing of the video’s release and its source.

“If the video was leaked by authorities, this would show how anxious the Chinese government is to justify its treatment of Liu Xiaobo,” Poon said.

by Joanna CHIU


China: Jailed Human Rights Defender Chen Yunfei To face Trial for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”

June 26, 2016


Chen Yunfei is a human rights defender and blogger from Sichuan province who has campaigned against environmental degradation, highlighted human rights abuses and spoken out on behalf of the families seeking justice for those killed in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He has been subjected to threats, harassment, physical attack, illegal detention and house arrest as a result of his work.


Political Activist Detained in China Is to Stand Trial, Lawyer Says

BEIJING — A longtime political activist and artist who has been detained for more than a year in China after visiting the gravesite of a victim of the violent Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 is expected to stand trial on Thursday, according to his lawyer.

The activist, Chen Yunfei, 48, uses performance art to criticize the Communist Party and is a close friend of other Chinese intellectuals, including the author Liao Yiwu, who lives in Germany and is also from Mr. Chen’s home province, Sichuan. Mr. Liao has written about Mr. Chen’s detention.

The authorities have charged Mr. Chen with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The police in China have been using the charge in many prominent cases against dissidents. The police also wanted the court try Mr. Chen on “inciting subversion of the state,” but that charge has been dropped.

In 2013, the top legal bodies expanded the definition of the “picking quarrels” charge to include online writings, and the charge has become a legal weapon that the security forces have wielded against liberal voices on the internet and people carrying out protests or other acts judged to be overly critical of the party or the state.

Read the rest:

The Case of Wang Yu, Emblem of China’s Human Rights Crackdown

September 6, 2015


On July 9, human rights lawyer Wang Yu was detained from her Beijing home, becoming the first of nearly 300 rights activists and lawyers to be detained, questioned, prevented from travel, or otherwise missing over the next few days in what has become known as the “Black Friday” crackdown.

While the majority have since been released, Wang and over a dozen others remain in detention, many in undisclosed locations. At The Guardian, Tom Phillips profiles Wang Yu, focusing on her work leading up to the detention and the mixture of fear and commitment amid her colleagues:

[Scholar of Chinese politics Roderick MacFarquhar] added that anyone who questioned [the Party’s] supremacy was “fair game” [in the Xi era].

Wang Yu, a commercial lawyer who began taking on human rights cases in about 2011, is one such person. In and out of the courtroom, Wang built a reputation as a fearless champion of the downtrodden and a perpetual thorn in the government’s side.

She defended feminist activists, members of the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong and Ilham Tothi, the respected Uighur academic who was last year jailed for life for inciting separatism.

[…] Some lawyers now refuse to discuss the recent detentions, apparently fearing reprisals. Others claim the repression will only inspire further resistance.

“China is still an authoritarian and conservative state and somebody has to make the sacrifice,” said Yu Wensheng, one of the movement’s newest adherents, during an interview at his spartan office overlooking Beijing’s urban sprawl.

“As far as I am concerned, we would rather face the regime’s oppression than have to bear the humiliation of bowing to it. I’m much happier facing oppression than standing by watching the wrongdoing and not trying to change it. Many human rights lawyers share my view on this, I think.”

[…] Almost two months after Wang Yu was seized, her whereabouts remains a mystery. […] [Source]

The Guardian also posted a short documentary based on interviews with Wang from last year about the 2013 case that likely led to her detention, adapted from a forthcoming full length documentary:

Wang Yu’s was the first of 20 prisoner profiles (#FreeThe20) published by the U.S. government in the lead-up to the 20th anniversary conference of the UN’s Beijing Declaration on women’s rights later this month:

Day 1: Wang Yu, China

Wang Yu  is a 44-year-old prisoner in the country where the historic 1995 Beijing Conference was held: China. Wang’s activism was sparked in 2008, when employees at a train station refused to let her board a train with her ticket. After demanding the right to board, Wang was assaulted by several men and then – even though she was the one who had been beaten – convicted to two-and-a-half years in prison for assault. She later told a reporter, “After my miscarriage of justice… I wanted to improve China’s human rights system.” Wang did that by taking on the cases of clients who other lawyers feared to represent. For her work, Wang has been harassed, threatened, and smeared in the State-run media. On July 9, 2015, Wang herself was detained. [Source]

As the campaign launched, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Samantha Powers mentioned Wang in her press conference:

Wang did that by taking on the cases of clients who other lawyers feared to represent, such as Ilham Tohti, a prominent Uighur scholar eventually sentenced to life in prison; Cao Shunli, a woman human rights activist who died in March 2014 after reportedly being denied medical treatment while in detention; and those who are known as the “Five Feminists” – young women who were detained in advance of International Women’s Day in March of this year for planning a campaign against sexual harassment. For her work, Wang has been harassed, threatened, and smeared in the state-run media. On July 9th, 2015, Wang herself was detained. So was her husband, along with their 16-year-old son. Wang and her husband remain in prison, where they have been denied regular access to a lawyer in custody and have not yet been charged. Their son was released, but is under constant surveillance and has been barred from leaving the country. When at least 159 Chinese lawyers and activists signed a petition calling for Wang’s release, many of them were detained as well.

Responding to attacks against her in the state-run press, Wang once wrote, “I believe that during this time of enlightenment and rapid development of the internet…any shameful attempt to smear me is doomed to fail.” She said, “The truth cannot be long hidden.” In raising Wang’s case today and others like it in the days to come, we aim to help her and others expose some of that truth. Let me repeat her name – it is Wang Yu.

We will continue to repeat Wang Yu’s name, and that of other women like her, over the coming days. […] [Source]

Last week, several supporters of Wang Yu are believed to have been detained for their roles in creating and mailing a T-shirt calling for her release.

Meanwhile, Ai Weiwei clarified his thoughts on the crackdown on human rights defenders in a public conversation with poet Liao Yiwu in Berlin on Wednesday. In August, the German Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted him as saying that “the tactics are not as unlawful as a few years ago. Of course the police have the right to arrest you if they think you’re suspicious.” From Nadja Sayej at The Guardian:

[…] “This audience expects me to speak about this sentence that I allegedly said, the arrest of lawyers is not a big deal,” said Ai. “When I said the arrest of all lawyers is not a major topic, I did not want to insinuate this is to be seen in the context of today’s laws. I meant it in the context of history. It has not been a major topic in our history.

“Lawyers are defending law, but law in a country where the system is not a healthy one, the lawyer could be arrested,” said Ai. “This will be the case until we have the rule of law.” Ai’s lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who was arrested, still awaits trail. [Source]

Exiled Chinese writer faces web wrath over picture showing Chairman Mao’s image on naked protester

January 2, 2015

Liao Yiwu has his work flagged as ‘inappropriate’ by army of pro-Beijing Facebook users

Liao Yiwu has his work flagged as 'inappropriate' by army of pro-Beijing Facebook users

Liao Yiwu (right) posted an image of artist Meng Huang streaking at a demonstration in support of the jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo Photo: @liaoyiwu1/Getty
By RobertFoyleHunwick, Beijing

The Daily Telegraph

An exiled Chinese writer has received a warning and had his Facebook account suspended for posting pictures of a nude protestor, in what appears to be the second recent example of the social-media site being manipulated by pro-government “trolls.”

Liao Yiwu, whose works include The Corpse Walker and Interviews with People from the Bottom Rung of Society, had posted images of artist Meng Huang streaking at an annual demonstration in support of the jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, but had covered Meng’s groin with an image of Mao Zedong to avoid breaching Facebook’s community rules. Ironically, such an image would be considered even more offensive to Chinese authorities, who strictly control the use of Mao’s image.

Mr Liao said that image led to a flurry of notifications informing him that his posts, which included a photograph of an activist wearing the V for Vendetta mask of Guy Fawkes, had been flagged as inappropriate by anonymous users.

Mr Liao’s suspension follows the similar, widely reported censorship of Tibetan critic, writer and journalist Tsering Woeser, whose video of a monk self-immolating in Sichuan province was deleted as it “didn’t meet Facebook’s community standards.” Woeser compared Facebook to a Chinese website, and Mr Liao, who now lives in Berlin, seemed similarly perplexed. “It feels like I’ve returned to China and have to play cat and mouse games with Internet censors again,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook was blocked in China after online groups called for demonstrations outside Chinese embassies in support of the Uighur ethnic minority involved in serious ethnic unrest during the summer of 2009. The company has made no secret of its interest in China’s half-billion strong Internet audience, even publicly courting “web czar” Lu Wei at its California office.

But in a statement, Facebook denied any political dimension to the censorship.

“Any suggestion that we took action because of politics, philosophy or theoretical business interests is complete nonsense,” the company said.

A more likely explanation is that China’s legions of pro-government wumaoding – or 50-cent army – are exploiting Facebook’s complaints system to target users who post critical or controversial content about China. Both Mr Woeser and Mr Liao said they had had had no difficulties with the site until this week.

Facebook Censors Exiled Chinese Writer Liao Yiwu

January 1, 2015

Facebook temporarily suspends account of Liao Yiwu, a prominent Chinese writer who lives in Germany and threatens to permenantly block it if he continued violating Facebook’s rules against nudity.

Liao Yiwu

Facebook, an online social networking service, headquartered in Menlo Park, California. Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates launched its website on February 4, 2004. As of June 2014, Facebook had over 1.3 billion active users. Owing to the huge volume of data collected about users, Facebook’s privacy policies have faced scrutiny, among other criticisms.

China, a country that has a state government controlled media that continues to censor content that according to it is unsuitable for the masses. Among the numerous prominent websites, Facebook is too not accessible on Chinese mainland owing to riots that happened 5 years back. Despite the obstacle Facebook faces in China, it is still interested in the vast, however, tightly controlled market. In a surprising move, Facebook suspended the account of a Chinese author and dissident Liao Yiwu citing its policy against nudity. Liao Yiwu, who has been imprisoned for his criticism of China’s Communist regime, lives in Berlin. He said that on Wednesday he received notifications from Facebook that the company had temporarily blocked his ability to post updates to his page, although, previous content on his page remained viewable.

According to Yiwu, two photos he posted of an artist friend’s nude protest in Stockholm, Sweden, were deleted by Facebook. Meng Huang, his artist friend was protesting the release of jailed Chinese Noble laureate Liu Xiaobo.

The author referred to the photo as ‘Performance art’ and also went as far as saying that Facebook should be able to distinguish between vulgarity and art. In an interesting statement, Yiwu said, “It feels like I’ve returned to China and have to play cat and mouse games with Internet censors again.”

This comes on the heels of Facebook deleting a self-immolation video made by a prominent Tibetan activist, Ms. Tsering Woeser. Self-immolation acts include setting oneself on fire, jumping off cliffs beside other things as expression of protest and martyrdom. Ms. Woeser said, “I couldn’t believe my eyes, I wondered why Facebook suddenly felt like it had become like a Chinese social networking site.”

A spokesperson for Facebook brought the company’s policies to notice – nudity is prohibited. She said, they work extremely hard to maintain a balance between expression and safety. She further added, “Any suggestion that we took action because of politics, philosophy or theoretical business interests is complete nonsense.”

This might increase the already mounting scrutiny of how Facebook treats China related content. However, Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to woo Chinese audience by speaking Mandarin should probably mellow the critics.


Facebook Blocks Account of Liao Yiwu, Exiled Chinese Writer

The New York Times

Amid growing censorship pressures around the world, Facebook suspended the account of one of China’s most prominent exiled writers after he posted pictures of a streaking anti-government demonstrator.

On Tuesday, the exiled writer, Liao Yiwu, said that he had received a notice from Facebook stating that his account had been temporarily suspended, and that it would be blocked permanently if he continued to violate the site’s rules against nudity.

The move follows Facebook’s decision last week to delete a picture of the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk that had been posted by the Tibetan writer Woeser.

Facebook is facing a delicate balancing act around the world. The social media site is popular among critics of authoritarian countries like China, Russia and Vietnam, but those nations are increasingly demanding that Facebook not be a platform for dissent. Even democracies like India are making broad requests that the site censor content.

The situation is more complex in China, where Facebook is blocked and domestic competitors like Sina Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat are dominant.

The chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has begun a small charm offensive in the country in recent months. He traveled to China in October and spoke Mandarin Chinese in front of university students there. In December, he hosted China’s top Internet regulator at his offices in California, where he was seen with a copy of a book by President Xi Jinping.

Facebook officials say that all of this is irrelevant to the case involving Mr. Liao, who lives in exile in Germany.

“Facebook has a pretty simple policy with regard to nudity: We prohibit it,” the company said in a statement. “The individual in question repeatedly posted pictures containing nudity. As a result, consistent with our existing policies and standard operating procedure, we removed the pictures and temporarily blocked the account. Any suggestion that we took action because of politics, philosophy or theoretical business interests is complete nonsense.”

Mr. Liao said the case was not that simple. In an interview at his home in Berlin, the 56-year-old writer said he had covered up the genitalia of the streaker in the photo after people pointed out that it might violate Facebook rules. He cut out a picture of the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong and pasted it over the man’s groin in the photo. His account was suspended several days after doing so.

Read the rest:


 (China has a pattern of silencing or censoring critics)

Chinese Nobel Laureate Sends Message From Jail — Forgives His Tormentors

December 12, 2014


Imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo

The Associated Press

Imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has told an overseas friend that he is relatively healthy and wants the world to pay more attention to other Chinese activists, in a rare message smuggled out of prison.

“The aura around me is enough already. I hope the world can pay more attention to other victims who are not well known, or not known at all,” said a message sent by Liu to dissident writer Liao Yiwu, who lives in exile in Berlin.

Liao, who posted the message Thursday on Facebook, did not say how he received it from Liu, who is serving an 11-year sentence on charges of inciting state subversion, but Liu’s friends have said the message is genuine.

While in prison, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his calls for political reforms. The Nobel committee held Liu’s award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, with an empty chair on stage to mark his absence. Beijing condemned the award and put his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest.  

The empty chair with a diploma and medal that should have been awarded to Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo  stands in Oslo City Hall

The empty chair with a diploma and medal that should have been awarded to Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo stands in Oslo City Hall Photo: 2010 AFP

Liu Xia still can visit her husband in prison, although their meetings are under tight watch. Because she is kept largely incommunicado, it is rare for the public to hear from the Nobel laureate. The message to Liao is possibly the first of its kind.

Liao said it was the first time he had heard from Liu in more than six years.

“My eyes are suddenly moist,” Liao said on Facebook.

In the message, Liu said he was doing well and had been reading and thinking.

“Through studies, I have become even more convinced that I have no personal enemies,” Liu said, repeating a statement from his trial five years ago that he held no grudge against those who prosecuted him.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping took power two years ago, the stifling of dissent has been on the rise, with authorities hauling away human rights lawyers, social activists, journalists, writers, scholars and artists, most of whom are largely unknown to the outside world.


Photo: Chinese people wear face masks with “No to Kunming PX,” paraxylene, written, chant slogans as they hold protest against a planned refinery project in downtown Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan province Saturday, May 4, 2013. After word spread about an environmental protest that was planned for Saturday in the central Chinese city of Chengdu, drugstores and printing shops were ordered to report anyone making certain purchases. Microbloggers say government fliers urged people not to demonstrate, and schools were told to stay open to keep students on campus. Meanwhile, hundreds of people – many wearing mouth masks – gathered in Kunming to protest a planned refinery project in the area. The demonstrators demanded information transparency and that public health be safeguarded. (AP Photo)

Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli died after falling critically ill in police detention in China

Officials in eastern China must abandon plans to demolish churches and crosses and stop their

Parishioners line up outside the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to save it from demolition by the Chinese Communist government Photo: Tom

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama delivers a speech at the Stanford Center at Peking University on March 22, 2014 in Beijing, China

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama on her way to deliver a speech at the Stanford Center at Peking University on March 22, 2014 in Beijing, China Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Beijing's No 1 detention centre

Outside Beijing’s No 1 detention centre. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

China’s Xi Jinping

Former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s extended family has controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion, the New York Times reported, citing corporate and regulatory records and unidentified people familiar with the family’s investments.