BEIJING (Reuters) - The wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has written an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, protesting against her house arrest and her brother’s jailing, which activists have called official retribution on the family.
Liu Xia’s hand-written letter was posted in photos to Twitter by a lawyer for the family on Friday, days after a Chinese court jailed her brother, Liu Hui, for 11 years on fraud charges.
“Under today’s rule of law, what we should see from state authority is justice and not ruthless suppression based on violence,” Liu wrote to Xi, denouncing the sentence as unjust.
“Based on my experience, the ‘China Dream’ you advocate has become the China nightmare,” Liu said, referencing a political slogan employed by Xi, who took over as president in March and as head of the ruling Communist Party last year.
Supporters of Liu Hui say his case was trumped up, aimed at thwarting the increasing attention by the rights community on the plight of Liu Xia, who has been effectively detained in her home since her husband Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Prize in 2010.
“No one has told me the reason for this house arrest ... Possibly in this country being the wife of Liu Xiaobo is a crime,” she said.
Shang Baojun, who represents Liu Hui and posted the letter, confirmed its authenticity, which was signed and dated by Liu Xia on Wednesday.
Liu Xiaobo, a veteran dissident involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests crushed by the Chinese army, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for organizing a petition urging the overthrow of one-party rule.
His wife is rarely allowed out and is almost never allowed to receive visitors. She has not been convicted of any crime.
Last week, Xi met U.S. President Barack Obama in California, eager to promote his desire for a “new model of major country relationship”, in which China would be viewed as an equal global player.
Differences over human rights have added to strained ties between Beijing and Washington in recent months.
In a small concession by Beijing ahead of the summit, China granted passports to the mother and eldest brother of Chen Guangcheng, which they hope to use to visit the blind Chinese activist who is living in the United States after fleeing to the U.S. embassy in Beijing last year.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday she knew nothing about Liu Xia’s letter.
“You know that China is a country with rule of law and China’s judicial authorities deal with cases in accordance with the law,” she said.
Reporting by Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Maxim Duncan; Editing by Nick Macfie