DEC. 10, 2014
BEIJING — A prominent Chinese writer living in Berlin said Wednesday that he had received a message from Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has been held by the Chinese authorities since 2008 and is serving a long prison sentence.
The writer, Liao Yiwu, who has known Mr. Liu for decades, declined to elaborate on how he received the message or what form it arrived in.
The message said: “I am O.K. Here in prison, I have continually been able to read and think. In my studies, I have become even more convinced I have no personal enemies. The nimbus around me is shiny enough by now. I hope the world could pay more attention to other victims who are not well known, or not known at all!”
Mr. Liao said he received the message early Tuesday from people in China. Mr. Liu has rarely if ever gotten messages out from his prison in Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, where he is serving an 11-year sentence.
“This is absolutely real,” Mr. Liao said. “It’s the first time I’ve received communication in all these years. I can’t say how I received it, but I know it is genuine. It is touching to hear this from him.”
Liu Xiaobo in an undated photo released by his family in 2010. He has been imprisoned since 2008. Credit via Reuters
Mr. Liu was detained by the police in 2008 after he helped write and circulate an online petition called Charter 08, calling for gradual political change in China that would eventually result in a Western-style democracy based on constitutional rights. Mr. Liu was formally charged in June 2009 with “inciting subversion of state power,” and on Dec. 25, 2009, he was given an 11-year prison sentence by a Beijing court.
He received the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, and organizers of the prize ceremony in Oslo left an empty chair for him on the stage to remind the world of his imprisonment.
Mr. Liao said he last heard from Mr. Liu in 2008, before he was detained, when Mr. Liao received via email a copy of Charter 08.
Mr. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, has been effectively held under house arrest in their Beijing apartment for three years. She was hospitalized last February for a heart ailment and severe depression. Before that, she managed to smuggle out a two-minute video that showed her reading poems. The video was shot in December 2013 and was shown in January at an event organized by the PEN American Center in New York.
Mr. Liao has been living in Germany since July 2011, when he violated a travel ban imposed on him by security officials by fleeing China through Vietnam.