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Liu Xia — Update 8

Chinese poet, dissident, and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo died of acute liver cancer on Thursday, July 13, 2017 while in police custody. At the time of his death he had been released from Liaoning Jinzhou Prison, where he had served almost nine years of an 11-year sentence, and transferred to the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang. There the Chinese authorities kept him under guard until his passing, preventing him from making any final public statement.

Untitled photograph by Liu Xia from the "Ugly Babies" series, © copyright 1996.

Untitled photograph by Liu Xia from the “Ugly Babies” series, © copyright 1996.

In 2009 a Chinese court convicted Liu of subversion for his role in co-authoring and disseminating “Charter 08,” which called for the recognition and practice of the democratic freedoms proclaimed in the constitution of the People’s Republic of China. His opposition to the Chinese Communist Party goes back to his leadership role in the events leading up to the Tienanmen Square Massacre of June 4, 1989.

Liu Xia installation with the "Empty Chair," Hong Kong, June 9, 2012. Photo © 2012 by A. D. Coleman.

Liu Xia installation with the “Empty Chair,” Hong Kong, June 9, 2012. Photo © 2012 by A. D. Coleman.

How Liu managed to reach a state of terminal liver cancer while imprisoned and under the presumed supervision and care of the Xi Jinping regime remains unexplained. He is the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in prison since the anti-Nazi German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky in 1938.

You’ll find his New York Times obituary here, written by Chris Buckley.

Liu Xia photograph, 1996-99. Copyright © by Liu Xia.

Liu Xia photograph, 1996-99. Copyright © by Liu Xia.

Predictably, just hours after Liu’s death Donald Trump praised China’s president, Xi Jinping. Trump has yet to acknowledge Liu’s death.

Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia in an undated photo released by his family.

Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia in an undated photo released by his family.

Liu Xiaobo’s wife (now his widow), the noted poet and photographer Liu Xia, has been under extralegal house arrest since Liu Xiaobo received the Nobel prize, although she has been neither charged nor convicted of any crime. Chinese officials refuse to acknowledge even the fact of her detention. Chinese authorities allowed her to visit her husband during his last days, under close police supervision; they were never allowed to be alone together.

Untitled photograph by Liu Xia from the "Ugly Babies" series, © copyright 1996.

Untitled photograph by Liu Xia from the “Ugly Babies” series, © copyright 1996.

Liu’s body was cremated and his ashes buried at sea, so that no gravesite exists that could serve as a place of pilgrimage by his supporters.

Liu Xiaobo quote on nonviolence

Liu Xia’s whereabouts are currently unknown. Those close to her fear for her mental and physical health, and her safety. With her husband now dead, she has become de facto the most internationally recognized symbol of opposition to the oligarchy that rules mainland China as a military dictatorship.

Unidentified police guard outside Liu Xia's apartment, Beijing, screenshot, 5-25-12.

Unidentified police guard outside Liu Xia’s apartment, Beijing, screenshot, 5-25-12.

Liu Xia — Update 7

Liu Xia on June 21 authorized Beijing lawyers Mo Shaoping and Shang Baojun to prepare a legal petition to reopen the case against her imprisoned husband, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo, and provide him with a new trial. Shang said Liu Xia also intended to initiate a lawsuit against the Beijing police for illegally keeping her under house arrest and incommunicado since October 2010. […]

Liu Xia Exhibition — Update 6

The arrest of Liu Xia’s younger brother, Liu Hui, in Beijing in late January of this year was followed in March by an indictment on charges of financial fraud. After a summary trial, Liu Hui was found guilty by a panel of three judges and, on June 9, given an unusually harsh sentence of 11 years in prison ― not coincidentally, the same length of time that Liu Xia’s husband, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo, currently serves. Knowledgeable observers consider this verdict to constitute official retribution. […]

Liu Xia Exhibition — Update 5

Liu Xia’s younger brother, Liu Hui, has been arrested and formally charged with fraud in Beijing. The charges relate to a real-estate dispute that resolved out of court months ago. Most observers take this as a transparent act of intimidation, and retaliation for two recent unauthorized visits to Liu Xia by small groups of her supporters. […]

Liu Xia Exhibition — Update 4

December 28, 2012 is the birthday of the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is still in prison now. Several netizens, Hu Jia, Hao Jian, Liu Di, Xu Youyu and etc, who are friends of Liu Xiaobo came to visit his wife Liu Xia at around 9pm. Liu Xia has been under house detention since Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to imprisonment in 2008. The flash mob action is to express their wish for her freedom. […]

Liu Xia Exhibition — Update 3

Either accidentally or on purpose, the guards who for two years have kept Liu Xia from leaving her apartment, and kept visitors (including press) from entering her home, inexplicably stepped away for several hours during the lunch period on December 6. This enabled two intrepid Associated Press reporters to enter the apartment and record Liu Xia’s first interview in 26 months. […]

Liu Xia Exhibition — Update 2

“The Silent Strength of Liu Xia,” the touring exhibition of 26 photos by the dissident Chinese photographer, artist, and poet, opened in Hong Kong on June 9, its first showing on Chinese soil. It will remain on view there until July 2. This represented the first exhibition of these images on Chinese soil. […]

Liu Xia Exhibition — Update 1

As I write this, in April 2012, “The Silent Strength of Liu Xia,” an exhibition of 26 photos by the dissident Chinese photographer, artist, and poet, has entered the third month of its run at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, based at Columbia University in New York City. Opening there on February […]