Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year Surprise

Recently released on YouTube, there's a four-minute, 12-second video showing three men encountering a security guard at the ground floor of an apartment building.

He asks who they are looking for and they boldly say Liu Xia, the wife of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

The guard firmly says, "No, no that's not possible", but one of the three replies, "Who are you to say it's not possible" and then they push their way past him before climbing up the stairs and meeting a simultaneously frightened and excited Liu Xia.

They continue to climb several flights of stairs until they finally reach her apartment, which has wooden paneling on the walls.

The three? Hu Jia, himself an AIDS activist, Xu Youyu and Hao Jian.

Liu, dressed in a jacket and hat, hugs one of them before whispering into his ear, terrified her words will be picked up by the video recording. "You have to go, or they will come and bring trouble," she said, worrying not only about punishment on the brave trio, but also retribution against her for having these guests unwanted by the Chinese government.

She has been under house arrest since Liu Xiabo won the Nobel Peace prize in 2010, cutting her off from her family and friends, the authorities constantly watching her and limiting her freedom as well as communications. She can only see her parents once a week and is allowed out only to get groceries, but not without being followed.

Her house arrest is almost as bad her husband's prison sentence.

A month ago two Associated Press journalists were able to visit her, and now three activists barged their way in.

Does this mean security overseeing Liu Xia has slacked off for a reason? Or are people becoming more determined and cunning in getting past guards to see her?

We shall see if Liu faces any punishment for this latest visit.

In any event we hope these people's ability to visit her is a signal that perhaps the authorities are loosening its grip over her and will eventually let her be.

What the government is doing is completely illegal and with these visits recorded and dispersed online, it shames the authorities in its outrageous and insecure behaviour.

We hope that in 2013 the mainland Chinese will move a few steps closer to the truth. They have every right to know what is really going on their authoritarian home.

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