Thursday, August 3, 2017

China accused over 'enforced disappearance' of Liu Xiaobo's widow

Chinese authorities are guilty of the Kafkaesque enforced disappearance of Liu Xia, the wife of late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, the couple’s US lawyer has claimed. Jared Genser, a Washington-based human rights attorney who has represented them since 2010, made the claim in a formal complaint submitted to the United Nations on Wednesday. 

Almost three weeks after the Chinese dissident became the first Nobel peace prize winner to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky – who died in 1938 after years in Nazi concentration camps – his widow’s precise whereabouts are a mystery. Friends say the 56-year-old poet was initially forced to travel to southwest China with security agents, but may now have returned to the capital, where she has lived under virtual house arrest since her husband won the Nobel peace prize in December 2010. Foreign journalists who have attempted to visit the couple’s Beijing flat have faced harassment and physical violence while Chinese officials have refused to answer questions on the subject.

Genser said Beijing’s continued persecution of his client took Communist party repression to an “incredibly disturbing new low” and constituted an enforced disappearance. In his petition to the UN’s working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, requesting “urgent intervention”, he wrote: “According to international law, an enforced disappearance involves (1) deprivation of liberty against the will of the person; (2) involvement of government officials; and (3) refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.”

Genser told the Guardian: “It is crystal clear to me that what has happened to Liu Xia falls squarely and unequivocally within this definition.” Liu Xia was last seen on 15 July when authorities released photographs showing her attending her husband’s controversial sea burial, which supporters suspect was devised to deny them a place to remember the democracy icon and his ideas.“There has been no information as to where she is, who is detaining her or when she might reappear. [But] it is clear to me … that the Chinese government has her,” said Genser. “She continues to suffer enormously … I actually don’t think Kafka could have imagined a scenario as terrible as hers.” .. read more

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