Nobel laureate and poet fallen in love after meet in the 1980 s and have braved mistreatment, detainees and now, his critical illness, together
Not long after Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prisons, he discovered two pieces had faded from his correspondence with his wife. To their consternation and delight, the couple realised the only letters censors had blocked were the love poems that each had penned to the other.
Perhaps authorities feared they were conjuring and would get the inmate too fired up, Liu Xia afterwards joked. But there was nothing funny about the states unrelenting interference in even the most intimate specific areas of “peoples lives” nor about the unchecked violence of their commitment in the face of every obstacle.
Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer in May, the Nobel peace laureate is at the centre of a geopolitical tug-of-war with western governments urging China to evidence humanity by letting him travel overseas for therapy and Beijing accusing “the worlds” of intervening in its domestic affairs. Images the first of him since police took him from the couples flat in Beijing over eight years ago prove a skeletal figure.
Friends, nonetheless, say it is a secondary, yet in some ways even more disturbing misfortune that troubles them most: that of the objector writers spouse, the poet Liu Xia.
She has been physically and mentally destroyed, replied Ye Du, a poet who has known her for over a decade.
Liu Xia has never been accused of criminal offences, still less tried or convicted: But when you live with such a person, even if you dont care about politics, politics will care about you, she formerly told the Guardian.
She has been almost entirely cut off from the outside world, to prevent her speaking out about her husband. There is growing concern that unless the couple are allowed to leave the country together her invisible prison will endure long after his death.
In a path Xiaobo selected his life and has been living exactly as he thought he should, replied Jean-Philippe Bja, an academic and friend of 25 times. But for his wife, for his friends, for his family, it is different.
Xiaobo opted his employment. Liu Xia choice Xiaobo. And they have taken retaliation on her, which is absolutely terrible.
Liu Xia was a civil servant and a bud young poet when the couple firstly met in the mid-1 980 s; they were married to other people, but part of a bohemian intellectual circle which are frequently gathered at her residence.