A Chinese court on Friday upheld an 11-year prison sentence given to a relative of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), a lawyer said, in a verdict the family claimed was littered with “lies.”
Police detained Liu Hui (劉暉) in January on suspicion of committing fraud in connection with a real-estate deal. His brother-in-law Liu Xiaobo was jailed four years earlier for “subversion” after he circulated a charter calling for democratic reforms.
Liu Hui, who manages a real estate firm in Shenzhen, was alleged to have defrauded another man, together with a colleague.
“The government is saying in public that it wants fair trials, but then this happens which is completely ridiculous,” a family member said.
The Nobel laureate’s wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), left home after years under house arrest in April to attend the opening trial session for Liu Hui, her brother.
She attended the sentencing in June, but not Friday’s appeal, as she felt unwell during the journey to court and returned home, Shang Baojun (尚寶軍), one of Liu Hui’s lawyers said.
Lawyers said previously that Liu Xia believed the charges against her brother were “political persecution.”
Foreign diplomats and journalists were barred from entering the court for the appeal hearing, media reports said.
In June, Liu Xia appealed to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to choose “justice” over “merciless oppression,” in a rare public statement.
She warned in an open letter that rights violations jeopardized Xi’s recent calls for a national renaissance.
“Don’t let the Chinese dream for people like us become a ‘Chinese nightmare,’” she wrote. “What we should see from national authorities is justice, not merciless oppression.”
Since taking office as president earlier this year, Xi has touted the catchphrase “Chinese dream” which, though vaguely defined, is meant to encourage national rejuvenation and pride.