Liu Xia 'Going Crazy' With Loneliness Amid Growing Calls For Her Release

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Liu Xia, widow of Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, in undated photo posted on social media.
Liu Xia, widow of Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, in undated photo posted on social media.
Photo courtesy of Liu Xia

Liu Xia, widow of late Nobel peace laureate and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, is shut up in an apartment, "talking to myself and lying here like a dead thing," a hand-scrawled note posted by a friend to Twitter has revealed.

"I can't leave here, and I'm so lonely I think I'm going crazy," says the note, addressed to Herta Mueller, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature.

"Someone is banging on the door, and I curled up," the note reads. "My neck started to get stiff but I couldn't move."

"I am lonely I could go mad, but no power to speak, to speak out loud," the note says. "I lie here in a vegetative state, like a dead thing, muttering to myself."

Liu, who has committed no crime, but who has been under tight surveillance or house arrest since her husband's Nobel prize was announced in October 2010, suffers from a number of mental and physical health problems.

Activists have repeatedly called on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to allow her to go overseas and seek medical treatment, and Liu herself has repeatedly requested permission to leave China.

Germany-based author Liao Yiwu recently managed to speak with Liu by telephone on Dec. 8, and found her distraught, Germany-based journalist Su Yutong, a good friend of Liu's, told RFA.

"[Last week] was the ninth anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's initial detention, and Liu Xia's mood was very low," Su said. "She started to remember when her husband, unable to speak to her openly, kept making walking motions with his legs to tell her that she should leave China as soon as possible."

Exile seen as only solution

Beijing-based rights activist Hu Jia said the last time he had been able to give Liu Xia a hug was in 2012.

"This is the first winter Liu Xia has ever spent without her husband, and without her parents," Hu said. "You can imagine the pain she's going through."

He called on the international community to put diplomatic pressure on Beijing to release Liu.

"They should also send people to meet with Liu Xia, to give her some warmth and encouragement," he said.

But he added: "The only way to break this curse is for her to leave the country, and go to Germany or to the U.S."

In Hong Kong, human rights lawyer Albert Ho said activists there will be sending Christmas cards to Liu Xia, who recently underwent surgery for uterine fibroids.

"We are really worried about her health, not just the surgery, but also her long-term health, because of her serious depression," he said. "She has been subjected to long-term persecution, and has frequent suicidal thoughts. She has no liberty whatsoever, and she doesn't live with friends or relatives."

"She is also frequently moved around by the state security police. She has no really human existence," he said. "We strongly urge the government to allow her to go abroad to seek medical treatment."

Reported by Yang Fan and Gao Shan for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Comments (5)

Anonymous Reader

Victor: Why not get the USA to open her door to the millions of Christians who are being repressed in China . Meanwhile you can get Angela Merkel of Germany to take in the 10 million Uyghurs and if that is not enough we have Hui Muslims and a host of other Muslims. If Germany took in 1 million Muslims refugees from the war in Iraq and Syria what is another 10 million Uyghurs.

I don't think the US or German are serious about their offer. China let go of Rebiyar Kadir, the supreme leader of the Uighurs and Wei Jing Sheng the democracy wall activist just to name a couple. Both we released to American soil.

Try making China a serious offer maybe Liu Xia could get lucky.

Dec 27, 2017 01:03 AM


To "Anonymous reader, Dec. 27", re your "try making China a serious offer maybe Liu Xia could get lucky", thank you for highlighting the true nature of the problem by openly acknowledging that the Chinese government stoops to holding its own citizens to ransom.

Dec 28, 2017 09:29 AM


To "Anonymous Reader, December 23", both Germany and the U.S have offered to grant Liu Xia asylum. The problem for Liu Xia is that the Chinese authorities have cut her off from all contact with the outside world, will not reveal where she is, and refuse even to respond to simple inquiries about her welfare. But speaking more generally, Western governments certainly could and should be exerting far more diplomatic pressure on China to improve its civil and human rights record.

Dec 26, 2017 02:12 PM

Anonymous Reader

I find it strange that no western countries even bother to offer her asylum. Shame on you, human rights loving west!

Dec 23, 2017 11:37 PM

Anonymous Reader

from PartyHell

Party regime's inhuman abuse of the widow Liu Xia needs to be addressed.

Dec 16, 2017 08:15 PM


It's hugely ironic how Liu Xia, for all her powerlessness, can reduce the almighty CCP to such a state of apprehension about the words that might fall from her lips that they must force her to live in a hell of unrelieved isolation.

By her mere existence Liu Xia is eloquent testimony to the fundamental weakness of despotism and the superiority of the values she and her late husband stood for.

Dec 15, 2017 10:45 PM

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