Thursday, July 20, 2017

The People's Republic of Thuggery - Chinese agents bar access to the 'free' wife of Liu Xiaobo

NB: The Chinese Communists have converted their Constitution into a cruel joke. Let anyone read it and compare it with the reality - especially the manner in which they assassinated  Liu Xiaobo and are now torturing his widow. Here's Article 35 of their Constitution - Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration." Other sections also bear reading..This is a shameless tyranny. DS

Chinese authorities claim Liu Xia is a free woman. But one week after the death of her husband, the Nobel laureate and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, a visit to the couple’s Beijing home immediately gives the lie to that claim. Within seconds of arriving at the tree-lined property on Wednesday, the Guardian was surrounded by plain-clothes security agents, shouting orders and questions, demanding that its reporters leave. “Where are you going? Where are you going?” snapped one man, wearing black Bermuda shorts and Adidas Superstars, as he used his body to block the path that leads to the fourth-floor flat. A second agent arrived, also clad in black, and then a third, brandishing a golden Chinese smartphone with which he threatened to call the police. Asked if Liu Xia was at home he said: “I have never heard of her.” He went on: “There are thousands of people living here with that name. How should I know which one you are talking about?”

In the lead-up to the death of her jailed husband, Liu Xia had been forced to endure almost seven years of unofficial house arrest – Communist party retribution, observers say, for her husband’s 2010 Nobel peace prize. Now, with Liu gone, the 56-year-old artist and poet appears to have been thrust straight back into that invisible prison. Liu Xia (front) was last seen in photos issued by Beijing as her husband’s ashes were scattered at sea off the coast of Dalian, Liaoning province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Rumours have swirled that Liu – last seen in propaganda photographs of her husband’s cremation and sea burial on Saturday – had been forcibly “travelled” to the southwestern province of Yunnan to prevent her speaking out.

On Thursday, however, supporters admitted her whereabouts were a mystery. “She’s totally incommunicado,” said Jared Genser, a US human rights lawyer who has campaigned on behalf of the late dissident and his wife. “It seems like she has fallen off the face of the Earth.” Hu Jia, a Beijing-based activist and friend, also said he was in the dark: “We’ve tried every means possible to contact her.” In the hours after the death of Liu, who was serving an 11-year prison sentence for subversion when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in late May, there were calls from activists and western governments for Liu Xia to be given safe passage out of China.

“I now urge [Beijing] to lift all restrictions on his widow, Liu Xia,” the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said in a statement. China, however, has shown no sign of backing down, instead insisting, contrary to the evidence, that Liu Xia – who has never been accused or convicted of any crime – is “free”. Friends and supporters say that is a mendacious fabrication designed to conceal her continued extra-legal incarceration. “I think she’s in an even worse position than before,” said Genser. “Her husband is dead. We are not aware that she has any contact with anybody at all. Her parents have both passed away. Her brother is also incommunicado and disappeared. And she is the only person now who can speak to what she heard from Liu Xiaobo in the last seven years of her being under house arrest and in his final weeks of life.”

Jerry Cohen, an expert in Chinese law and human rights from New York University, said he believed the rulers of one-party China would be reluctant to release Liu Xia in case she became a figurehead of resistance. “The wife who has to suffer for the political views of her husband has always been a figure to attract sympathy. But she is much more,” he said. “She is an extraordinarily able and determined person and they feel they shouldn’t allow her to speak … She is too potent a symbol.”

On Wednesday it was impossible to know whether that symbol was inside her apartment, outside of which security agents lurked in a black SUV. Plain-clothes agents guarding the leafy residential compound grew increasingly jittery and aggressive as they tried to force journalists away from the property.  “You should get out!” growled one of the officers, losing his temper at repeated questions about the dissident’s missing wife. “Go! Go! Go!” shouted his colleague. Earlier in the week journalists from the Spanish news agency EFE reported being grabbed and threatened by unidentified men and held by police after trying to visit Liu Xia’s home. Police reportedly accused the journalists of working in an “illegal manner”... read more:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/20/chinese-agents-bar-access-free-liu-xia-wife-of-liu-xiaobo-beijing