China accused of freeing Liu Xia for political reasons

2018/07/10 21:28:11 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
China accused of freeing Liu Xia for political reasons

Berlin, July 10 (CNA) Tienchi Martin-Liao (廖天琪), president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, expressed her pleasure Tuesday at the decision by China to release Liu Xia (劉霞), the widow of Nobel Peace Prize-winner Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), who had been under house arrest since her husband died last year.

However, she also criticized Beijing for using Liu as a pawn and making the move as a concession designed to seek German support in China's trade war with the United States.

Born in Nanjing, Liao was educated in Taiwan and Germany and has dedicated her life to the defense of human rights and freedom of expression in China.

Liao is well known for her longstanding relationship with the Nobel laureate, one of China's most renowned political dissidents, and his wife, and has campaigned for their causes.

Liao told CNA that the day after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Monday, it was reported that China has freed the widow of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from house arrest and will allow her to travel to Berlin.

This shows Liu Xia is being used by China as a pawn to encourage Germany to stand with China against the United States, Liao said.

"Liu Xia is a person not a gift," Liao said, reiterating that although she looks forward to seeing her in Germany, she remains unhappy with China's human rights violations.

Liao Yiwu (廖亦武), a Chinese dissident and friend of Liu who lives in Germany, will hold a memorial service to mark the first anniversary of the death of Liu Xiaobo in Berlin Friday, according to Tienchi Martin-Liao.

Although Liu Xia is physically weak after being under house arrest for so long, Liao said she hopes Liu Xia will be able to attend the service.

(By Lin Yu-li and Evelyn Kao)

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