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Dissident's wife addresses open letter to Chinese president after brother is jailed

UPDATE from RWB: Remember Liu Xiaobo – the only Nobel Peace Prize winner in prison (10 October 2013)

A open letter to President Xi Jinping by Liu Xia, the wife of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, was posted by her lawyer on Twitter on 14 June 2013, five days after her brother, Liu Hui, was sentenced to 11 years in jail in the latest evidence of the government's harassment of the families of dissidents.

Liu Xia has been under house arrest since October 2010, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to her husband, who has been serving an 11-year jail sentence on a subversion charge since 2009. Her brother was convicted on a charge of "real estate fraud."

"By giving Liu Xiaobo's brother-in-law a jail term as harsh as his, the authorities have once against shown the lengths to which they will go to persecute the relatives of dissidents," Reporters Without Borders said.

"Not content with being the world's only country to be detaining a Nobel peace laureate, despite the many international appeals for his release, the Chinese government persists in intimidating and persecuting his relatives regardless of the fact that it is breaking its own laws.

"Liu Xia has shown great courage in continuing to denounce the government's abuses and needs to be able to count on the support of international bodies and foreign governments. They must end their silence and press China to free Liu Xiaobo, Liu Hui, Liu Xia and all the other journalists and netizens it is holding."

Convicted by a court in the Beijing suburb of Huairou of defrauding a man of 3 million yuan in a real estate deal, Liu was sentenced on 9 June to a fine of 20,000 yuan (about 2,000 euros) and 11 years in prison followed by two years without political rights.

Representatives of ten countries including the United States, European Union representatives and foreign journalists were prevented from attending the trial. Liu Xia, who was allowed to attend, described the court's verdict as "unjust" and "political persecution."

She also challenged the powers assumed by the judicial apparatus and called on the authorities to respect the rights of defendants.

Liu Xia's letter to President Xi Jinping:

President Xi Jinping,

I am Liu Xia, a citizen of the People's Republic of China. I have enjoyed no individual freedom since October 2010, having been placed under house arrest. No one has explained to me why this was done. I have come to suppose that, in this country, being Liu Xiaobo's wife is a "crime."

Reporters Without Borders

I regard the verdict that my younger brother Liu Hui received on 9 June as completely unjust. I seriously question the legitimacy of the judicial apparatus, as I do that of the entire government.

Under the rule of law, a country's authorities should render justice, not indulge in relentless persecution based on violence. Whenever individuals are denied their rights, a tragedy can ensue that casts a bleak shadow over the halo of legitimacy that should surround a government.

Criminal justice reveals itself only through the cases it handles. In this particular case, I cannot imagine that the justice we desire can be rendered if the rights of the defendant are ignored and even scorned.

Mr. President, the "Chinese dream" you have mentioned will only be achieved by realizing every citizen's dream. I hope that this Chinese dream will not become for me and for these citizens a "Chinese nightmare."

Today is the day of the traditional Chinese festival of the dragon boats. Can you imagine the state of our family's spirit at this moment?

Liu Xia, citizen
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