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Liu Xia Exhibition — Update 6

Style Weekly, Richmond, VA, 2-19-13, cover.

Style Weekly, Richmond, VA, 2-19-13, cover.

The international tour of “The Silent Strength of Liu Xia,” the exhibition of 26 photographs by the dissident Chinese photographer, artist, and poet, concluded ― at least until further notice ― with the April 28, 2013 closing of its run at the Lora Robins Gallery of the University of Richmond Museums in Richmond, VA. (Click here for details of that exhibition.) Co-curator A. D. Coleman, who managed the exhibition’s itinerary from early 2012 through the Richmond showing, has indicated that he would not have an involvement in any future arrangements for the exhibition.

Press release, A. D. Coleman lecture, University of the Arts, 4-3-13.

Press release, A. D. Coleman lecture, University of the Arts, 4-3-13.

Subsequently, on April 3, 2013, Coleman lectured on the subject of Liu Xia and this exhibition at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Attended primarily by faculty and students, his illustrated presentation, part of the UArts Paradigm Lecture Series, took place in the university’s Connelly Auditorium.

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. (See “China Sentences Brother-in-Law of Nobel Laureate to 11 Years on Fraud Charges” by Edward Wong, New York Times, June 9, 2013.)

PEN America poster for Liu Xia campaign, "She's Not Free," May 2013.

PEN America poster for Liu Xia campaign, “She’s Not Free,” May 2013.

At the conclusion of the trial, Liu Xia, allowed to attend the trial whose outcome was preordained, stated that “This is completely an illegal verdict,” adding, “I am not free. If they tell you I’m free, tell them I’m not free.”

Knowledgeable observers consider this verdict to constitute official retribution for two widely publicized breaches in December 2012 of the extralegal police cordon that keeps Liu Xia confined to her Beijing apartment and restricts her contact with the outside world. Punishment of family members (including even the dead) for the real or perceived misdeeds of an individual constitutes a time-honored tradition among China’s ruling class, stretching back millennia.

Liu Xia, "Open Letter to Xi Jinping," June 14, 2013.

Liu Xia, “Open Letter to Xi Jinping,” June 14, 2013.

In response, Liu Xia wrote and published an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, protesting both her house arrest since October 2010 and her brother’s jail sentence. Liu Xia’s hand-written letter was posted in photos to Twitter by Shang Baojun, one of the attorneys who represent Liu Hui, on June 14. (Click here for the Associated Press report, “Jailed Nobel’s wife pens open letter to China’s Xi,” as published in the Tehran Times on June 14, 2013.) The English translation by Friends of Liu Xiaobo of her handwritten missive, as published at the website of PEN America, reads as follows:

President Xi Jinping:

I am Liu Xia, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. I have been under house arrest and have lost all my personal freedoms since October 2010. No one has told me any reasons for detaining me. I have thought about it over and over. Perhaps in this country it’s a “crime” for me to be Liu Xiaobo’s wife.

I think the prison sentence of my brother Liu Hui, which was handed down on June 9, 2013, is totally unjust. I doubt whether the judicial authorities and even the whole public power system were really administering their rights properly.

Under the current rule of law, we should see justice in state power, instead of ruthless crackdowns with violence; any events that erase individual rights will all cause tragedy, thus casting a dark shadow over the aura of the state power’s legitimacy.

Justice in criminal cases will only be manifested in actual cases. I cannot imagine justice, which is what we’re hoping for, would be realized through disrespecting and even disregarding the rights of the accused.

Mr. Chairman, the China Dream that you mentioned will have to be realized through every citizen. I hope the China Dream won’t turn us individuals into the “China Nightmares.”

Today is the traditional Chinese Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival). Can you ever imagine how our family is feeling during the celebrations?

Citizen Liu Xia

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