'Her Mental State Has Deteriorated Rapidly'

Activist Zeng Jinyan calls attention to the plight of Liu Xia under house arrest.

Liu Xia speaks to visitors at her apartment in Beijing on Dec. 28, 2012.

In a recent post to her personal blog, Hong Kong-based rights activist Zeng Jinyan calls attention to the plight of Liu Xia, the wife of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. Liu Xia has been held under solitary house arrest since October 2010, when her husband was first announced as the winner of that year's Nobel Peace Prize, infuriating the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Zeng lived under house arrest herself during the detention of her husband, activist Hu Jia.

Zeng Jinyan in Beijing in 2008. Photo credit: AFP. Photo: RFA
My name is Zeng Jinyan.... I am relaying the following requests from Liu Xia in an individual capacity:

1. [Liu Xia] wants the right to visit a doctor freely. I suggest that the international specialist organization Medecins San Frontieres send an internationally renowned psychiatric specialist for a one-to-one consultation with Liu Xia.

Background information: Liu Xia was diagnosed with coronary disease in the 1990s, and her solitary house arrest since her husband and brother were jailed has meant that her mental state has deteriorated rapidly.

She has repeatedly refused to seek medical attention under police escort for fear that state doctors will put her straight into a psychiatric hospital when she seeks help from them.

2. [Liu Xia] wants Liu Xiaobo and herself to be able to read each others' letters.

Background information: It has been very hard for Liu Xia and Liu Xiaobo to get to see letters that they continue to write to each other.

3. [Liu Xia] wants the right to work and to have her own income.

Background information: Liu Xia has been depending financially on her brother Liu Hui.

When Liu Hui went into prison, not only was her income cut off, but the economic losses from the trial took up large sums of money, putting the family in great difficulty.

This has increased the family pressure on Liu Xia, and she hopes that she will be able to support them, particularly with schooling for Liu Hui's son, if she has an income.

Translated by Luisetta Mudie.