The wife of an outspoken Chinese dissident who has been jailed for a year without charge said yesterday if the government won’t release him she wishes it would put him on trial so she could visit him regularly.
Liu Xia (劉霞) has not seen or spoken to her husband Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) since March when police arranged a short meeting for the couple in a Beijing hotel room.
Police took Liu Xiaobo away on Dec. 8 last year, one day before the publication of a document he co-authored that called for more civil rights in China and an end to the Chinese Communist Party’s political dominance.
About 10,000 people have since signed “Charter 08,” an unusually direct call for a new constitution guaranteeing human rights, the open election of public officials, and freedom of religion and expression. Many Chinese dissidents and intellectuals know about the project but tight media controls and Internet censorship have limited its reach.
Web sites that mention or post the charter are routinely deleted or blocked. The document and international calls for Liu Xiaobo’s release — including an appeal by 150 writers and rights activists including Salman Rushdie, Nadine Gordimer and Wole Soyinka — have not been covered by state media. Human rights groups say people in provinces around the country who signed the statement have been summoned or tailed by police.
Liu Xiaobo, 53, is a former professor who spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 student-led protests in Tiananmen Square. Credited as the chief architect of the charter, he has been the only one arrested — seen as a move by authorities to scare other signatories into backing off.
He was held at a secret location for six months, then formally arrested in June on suspicion of “inciting to subvert state power” — a loosely defined charge that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
“Of course, I would like there to be a miracle and to have him come home tomorrow,” said Liu Xia, a rail-thin 48-year-old poet and painter.
She said she was not optimistic that her husband would be released when the investigation is complete, and now wishes that he could be quickly tried.
“For me, I will be less anxious [when he is sentenced] because at least I will be able to see him once a month, to write him letters and bring him books,” she said.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big