The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

As brother goes on trial, wife of China's jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner says 'I'm not free'

  • Print

BEIJING, China - Liu Xia, under house arrest in China's capital since her imprisoned husband Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize, made a rare appearance Tuesday at a trial, yelling out a car window: "I'm not free."

Liu was allowed to leave the Beijing apartment where she has been held for two-and-a-half years to attend the trial of her brother on fraud charges that his lawyers said are trumped up to punish the family. Taken by car to the court in Beijing's suburbs, she sat through the morning-long proceedings, and when she came out accompanied by her lawyer, she shouted from an open window at diplomats and reporters.

"I'm not free. When they tell you I'm free, tell them I'm not," she said.

Her trip to the Huairou People's Court is one of the few instances when Liu has broken the security cordon that has surrounded her. A poet and activist in her own right, Liu became an exponent for democracy and freedom of expression after her husband was jailed in late 2008 for authoring and disseminating a program for political reform called Charter '08.

Liu Xiaobo was later sentenced to 11 years in prison, his fourth prison term in 20 years of political activism. Since he was awarded the Nobel in 2010, authorities have tried to turn Liu Xia into a non-entity to prevent her from becoming a rallying point for Chinese seeking democratic change. She has been allowed out of her apartment once a week to buy food and see her parents and once a month to visit her husband in prison.

Authorities in China routinely put pressure on family members of political activists and government critics to cow them into falling in line.

On her way to the court Tuesday morning, Liu Xia told Hong Kong reporters that the case against her brother was aimed at her.

"They want to break one leg and then break another. But I am demanding to stand up straight and not be afraid," said Liu. She added later: "My heart feels weary because my younger brother is very important to me. Though I am his older sister, he has been taking care of me for so many years."

The charges against the brother, Liu Hui, relate to a real estate deal in which prosecutors said Liu and a partner pocketed 3 million yuan ($500,000) that was claimed by another party to the transaction.

His attorneys said the funds have been returned and the dispute does not rise to the level of crime. Investigators previously looked into the dispute last year and did not pursue charges, reviving them only in February. In the weeks before that, outsiders — a group of Associated Press reporters and separately five political activists — twice managed to slip past the police and visit Liu Xia in her apartment, embarrassing the security forces.

Being able to leave the apartment for her brother's trial, Liu said, was welcome change from house arrest. "I hope that from today on every day can be like this," she said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Preview: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.
  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you worried Ebola might make its way to Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google