The wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) is unwell under house arrest and possibly suffering from severe depression, but refuses to seek medical help as she is afraid of further punishment, her friends said yesterday.
The accounts from Liu Xia’s (劉霞) friends shed a rare light into her condition since being held at home after Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Prize in 2010.
Liu Xia wrote to prominent human rights lawyer Mo Shaoping (莫少平) in August that she was “close to going crazy, close to mental collapse” during the time of the trial of her brother, Liu Hui (劉暉), on fraud charges, Mo said.
“Her family is very worried and they’ve been giving her anti-depressants,” Mo said. “It’s been long-term and sustained — when you are cut off from the world for so long, how do you think your mental state would be like?”
Liu is rarely allowed out of her home, except for occasional visits to her husband and family, and is almost never permitted visitors. She has not been convicted of any crime.
Hao Jian (郝建), who teaches at the Beijing Film Academy, said a friend saw Liu two days ago, when Liu stood wordlessly weeping as she stood at her apartment window.
“Based on our observations, it is getting more and more serious,” Hao said. “Before she could speak but now she can’t say anything.”
Hao, who saw Liu Xia in March, said she was “terrified and does not dare to consult doctors.”