Chairman Brown and Cochairman Smith Urge China To End the Unlawful House Arrest of Liu Xia

Congressional-Executive Commission on China
CECC Contact: 202–226–3766

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CECC Chairman Senator Sherrod Brown and Cochairman Representative Christopher Smith today urged the Chinese government to end the unlawful home confinement of Liu Xia, the wife of imprisoned 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, and to respect her internationally-recognized right to freedom of movement. 

"We are extremely concerned about Liu Xia’s deteriorating health and unlawful house arrest. She has taken a courageous stand in the face of the Chinese government’s attempts to isolate her and shown how far China must still go to meet the aspirations of the Chinese people for freedom and human rights," Chairman Brown said. "China has a responsibility to abide by its international obligations and end the crackdown against Liu Xia and all human rights advocates and their families."

"We fear for the safety of Liu Xia, who has been unjustly detained and prevented from meeting with diplomats, journalists, health professionals and friends for over 40 months," Co Chairman Smith said.  "Regrettably, her case is not an isolated one, we know that family members of other human rights leaders are harassed with impunity by Chinese authorities, this is a flagrant violation of Chinese international obligations.  If the wife of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate can be punished, no one in China is safe from brutality and abuse when they speak out for fundamental freedoms.  We must continue to do all we can to defend the victims of abuse and their relatives or friends who suffer."

According to recent media reports, Liu Xia’s condition has deteriorated in recent months. She was recently discharged from a Beijing hospital after experiencing depression and heart-related issues and reportedly has expressed an interest in seeking medical attention overseas.

Chinese authorities have unlawfully confined Liu Xia to her home since October 2010, when the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that Liu Xiaobo would receive the Nobel Peace Prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." In May 2011, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared Liu Xia’s house arrest and Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment to be arbitrary and in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.