BEIJING — Chinese activists urged the public on Wednesday to visit dissident Liu Xiaobo's wife to highlight that she has been under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
Activist Hu Jia said Chinese citizens, human rights workers and foreign politicians should visit Liu Xia at her guarded Beijing apartment to help her regain freedom, a call reminiscent of the campaign to visit blind activist Chen Guangcheng in Shandong before his escape from house arrest last spring.
"This should not be permitted to happen in a civilized society," Hu said. "To rescue Liu Xia is to rescue the right of all citizens."
A Hong Kong newspaper, Mingpao, published on its website a detailed graphic Wednesday of the home's location and its surveillance "to help readers to better understand her condition under house arrest."
The Associated Press last month visited the apartment when guards apparently were on break, conducting Liu's first interview in two years. Hu and other activists brushed past a guard to visit the home last week. Hu said he hopes the success would signal the start of more visits to Liu.
"You can blame the country for her first year under house arrest and the guards for her second year. But it will be the shame of all of us citizens if she should remain in her home prison for a third year," Hu said.
Her husband is four years into an 11-year prison term for subversion for writing a manifesto calling for democracy. China's authoritarian government strongly objected to his being named the peace prize laureate in 2010, and its detention of his wife has underlined the government's determination to prevent her from becoming a spokeswoman for her detained spouse.
Hu said Liu Xia — like Chen — has been illegally deprived of personal freedom. She also faces a lonely confinement, he said.
Before Chen fled from his rural home, dozens of ordinary Chinese responded to online calls to visit him in his village of Dongshigu, where he and his family were kept confined by police and thugs. The visitors were detained, questioned and even beaten, but they brought renewed attention to Chen and his cause.
Even Hollywood actor Christian Bale tried to visit, and it became international news when village thugs roughly turned Bale away.