Xia Liu: An Appeal for a Chinese Dissident
Despite the hardship that his involvement in the Charter 08 movement has caused him, I am sure that Xiaobo has no regrets. He is deeply committed to promoting and protecting the rights of all people, particularly those who do not enjoy the advantages that he has as an intellectual. Indeed, this was the fourth time that I have had to witness my husband being dragged from our home by Chinese police. He previously served half a year in prison for his participation in the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square. In 1996, he was taken away and sent to prison for three more years for promoting freedom and democracy in his writings. Then, in 2006, he was once again taken into custody and was interrogated for 12 hours before being released.
Although my husband and I were fully aware of the possible retaliation that his advocacy might inspire, his detention is still very painful for us both. We agreed long ago that we would not have a child, as it would be too cruel to subject him or her to the absence of an imprisoned father. Thus, we are both alone now. We write to each other constantly, knowing our letters will never reach each other. In the nearly four months since his abduction, authorities have allowed me only two visits with him. After being taken to an undisclosed location, I was permitted to talk with him as we shared a meal under the unremitting surveillance of prison guards. During our conversations, I learned that he has been confined alone to a small room lit by a single light bulb and that most of the more than 60 books I had brought him were confiscated by prison officials. It is difficult for me to bear the extent of his isolation.