Chinese Nobel peace prize winner's wife reveals 'Kafkaesque' house arrest

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012 07:00 hrs

The wife of Chinese Nobel Peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo has spoken out for the first time in more than two years from under house arrest, revealing the Kafkaesque conditions she is being kept in.

Liu Xia, a 52-year-old poet, artist and former civil servant in Beijing's tax bureau, was confined to her fifth-floor apartment in Beijing, her telephone and internet cut and was isolated from the outside world in October 2010, two days after her husband was announced as the Nobel Peace prize winner.

However, reporters from the Associated Press news agency were able to enter her apartment as her guards apparently stepped out to lunch, The Telegraph reports.

"How did you manage to come up, how did you manage?" a surprised Xia said.

According to the paper, she appeared frail and confessed she has a back injury that frequently keeps her confined to bed. She also said that she spends her time reading and painting.

"I don't keep track of the days anymore. That is how it is," she said.

Liu said she was allowed to leave the apartment twice a week, accompanied by guards, to buy groceries and visit her parents. And, once a month, she is allowed to visit her husband's prison 280 miles north of Beijing, who, she said, had been in good health on her last visit and that he is aware of her confinement, the paper said.

"I told him: 'I am going through what you are going through almost,'" she said.

Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for helping to draft a manifesto, Charter '08, calling for political reform. However, ahead of the two-year anniversary of his prize, 134 Nobel laureates have written a public letter to Xi Jinping, China's new paramount leader, asking for the writer to be pardoned, the paper said.

More than 300 Chinese writers, lawyers and intellectuals have also signed a second letter calling for his release, it concluded. (ANI)

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