Tue, Jan 01, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Chinese activists break cordon to pay visit to Liu Xia

AFP, BEIJING

Dramatic video footage emerged yesterday of one of China’s top dissidents breaking through a security cordon to reach the wife of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), who is herself under house arrest.

The four-minute 12-second video, posted on YouTube, is shot in Liu Xia’s (劉霞) apartment building in Beijing and represents a brazen challenge to the authorities.

A security official is shown telling Hu Jia (胡佳), who first came to prominence fighting for the rights of victims of an HIV scandal, and two other activists: “Who are you looking for?”

Told they want to see Liu Xia, who has been held under house arrest since her husband won the peace prize in October 2010, he replies firmly: “No, no, that’s not possible.”

“Who are you to tell us it’s not possible?” comes the response, before the three push past him to force their way through to the staircase before climbing to her apartment.

Liu Xia appeared emotionally shaken by the visit and is seen asking the visitors to leave, apparently out of fear of retribution from the authorities who have ordered her house arrest.

“You have to go, or they will come and bring trouble,” she says at one point.

Mostly she whispers in the ear of one of the activists so that the camera will not pick up her words.

In between sobs and smiles, the three rights campaigners — Hu, Xu Youyu (徐友魚) and Hao Jian (郝建) — agree to leave after a brief stay.

“Let’s be quick, we have to leave before they come up,” says one.

Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), confirmed that the trio succeeded in seeing Liu Xia on Friday. Hu and the others were not immediately available for comment.

Liu Xiaobo was arrested and sentenced to 11 years in prison for subversion after spearheading Charter 08, a bold petition for the protection of human rights in the one-party nation.

China’s authorities tried to block out news of his Nobel award in 2010 and put his wife under house arrest.

The three activists who visited Liu Xia all signed Charter 08 and have been active in seeking political reform and greater respect for human rights in China.

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