….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
This may not be a very pleasing blog because many would like me to promote who Liu Xia is and why she is important. I wished I could honestly say that she is really important in my life. She is not. She is a symbol of what could happen to an ordinary woman caught in a sh*t storm of political intrigues, not of her own making.
The reason why I supported Laureate Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Charter’08 was that I read it. It is true, I read it only because I was told he got nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and got arrested for it. So I read it in chinese looking for something rebellious and controversial. What I read, was in fact, not particularly surprising if you grew up in a First world country. He was asking for stuff that we take for granted. Really simple things like 1 person = 1 vote, equal rights and the right of workers to form unions and negotiate their employment terms so they are not working sweatshop hours.
Who is Liu Xia? Wife of Liu Xiaobo, Poet, Painter, Photographer, DOB 1/4/1061, since 10/10/2010 oppressed by Chinese Communist Government
Actually, my support was in spite of who he was, and more about the content of his Charter’08. I thought it was brave for him to write it. He did not strike a warm figure in many respects. At the time no one knew who he was and if there was ever a movie about him, not even Chow Yun Fat could sell it based on his looks. 😂
I supposed he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for having the courage to say what billions are secretly wishing for, for all of China. I know I do. Simple things, that I enjoy in the first world, like being allowed to surf the internet without having most of the contents blocked because of the Great Firewall of China. It is a real pest if you need to find out anything about the real world to have that kind of censorship!
So I supported his ideas, not him as a charismatic figure; for he was not very charismatic. Then came the years of imprisonment. It was sad. I sent postcards like everyone else as Amnesty International suggested and I read many many expressions of outrage by PEN. I ran a 60K strong facebook group lobbying for his release.
I decided to work with some of the Hong Kong Alliance Strategies because they had a good track record of actually helping survivors of torture like my Aunt told me Sze To Wah did in her era.
Normally Liu Xia laughs a lot and her friends said she laughed like a maniac but why are all photos of her in the media are of her in tears?
” Raising awareness” is a terribly American concept. It works fine in some areas but it is cold comfort in others when you are lacking soft powers to change anything inside the Far Eastern systems.
I remembered “calling out” the likes of Lynn Twist on this issue when her organisation did a soft launch of Nobel Women Initiatives at the Inspiring Women Sumit, the platform was fiscally sponsored by the spiralmuse.org at the time (of whom I was non-executive director, along with the 5 Glamazons that innovated dot.com quietly without seeking the limelight).
Ms. Twist at the time said,” If you have time to do these blogs, it is a good thing. But we don’t have time.”
I chortled inwardly at the PR strategic shortsightedness, knowing how out of date their soft powers were by focussing only on the “awareness raising” in the dawning of the age of social media manager, mobilisation of influencers, chinese human flesh search engine and 50cents gangs in 2012, which later evolved into robots twitter friends, Russian hacks on US elections, Cambridge analyticas and Trump neo nazi fake news Breitbart white house media vomit by 2017. Well, guess whatever they spent their time on back then was not the right thing for the future of Social Justice on social media. Yet I still wish them well as their mission is pure, noble and true. The execution could be done better!
The idea of ‘raising awareness in an empowerment group hug love orgy’ is superceded by PR infomedia management. At its best you get the general positive brand images of most Nobel laureates , at its worst you get…well…Trump and Putin….
In the age of fake news, I like to find things out carefully and read about things on my own terms, in my own time.
But that was exactly the problem even back in 2010, the Nobel Peace Laureate Liu did not have “time” on his side. He was rotting in a jail and will probably die in there before 11 years (which as history showed, he did die before serving his full sentence!).
So the face of his Ideas became his wife Liu Xia by about 2011. Suddenly we were hearing about how she was constantly crying and depressed. Then came the poetry which was kind of emo but I only read a bit of it. It was predictable. I liked the Tang dynasty poets dreamy verses and slightly ironic tones better. So yes, maybe she is a poet and she is very upset because her husband will die in prison. Deep down, maybe she also knew this from the day she met him. Then she chose to be with him anyway. I am not sure I would do that. But she did.
A romantic would say “Omnia vincit amor”. Well, the social realist modern girls probably would have some healthy cynicism towards her choices. You can love a rebel, but would you really entwine your life with his so much that his fate becomes yours?
Like Wong Kar Wai’s “In the Mood for Love”, we love it as a narrative exactly because it was a different era and people had different sensibilities about love. So when I read the Liu dating story, in my head I just went,” Like the old Cantonese Hong kong cinema 粵語長片 [不了情] era, I guess they just had a different sensibilities about relationship. But it was unlikely that it would end well given what the government is like…..sad…and strangely courageous but not done in a pragmatic Hong Kong style..”
I am not trivialising the depths of their feelings but you know, in the age of Gen Z, love is a swipe left or right on Tinder or eHarmony if you are more seriously christian Gen Y! I don’t think anyone can imagine writing “Dissident Rebel idealist in for a Nobel Peace Prize but also 11 yrs of jail” on their social media dating sites. I don’t think it would get a lot of “takers”. Lol.
So in a way, this is a classic tragic romance that the likes of Rostand who wrote Cyrano de Bergerac can do justice to. But if it was written, it would probably be banned in China so there you go…it is a wasted effort to try.
I don’t think any sensible person would see Liu Xia as merely a victim. Her choice would not be many of ours, but she made her choice when she decided to marry him. There are worst guys in the world to marry…for sure. You could end up with a Slimebucket with no integrity instead of one with too much integrity! Hello Trump! 😂
Maybe those of us who wished her the peaceful life all chinese people valued would probably say,”There are way better ordinary guys for a happier life.”
But hey, don’t judge….we are not her or him.
Why is she crying all the time? 1996 Liu Xiaobo was sent to hard labor when they were just dating, the government forbids her from seeing him. She applied to the government to see if they would let her marry him. She was bureaucratically blocked so she had to go through many channels to simply obtain a marriage license. In 1996, they got married in Dalian, their wedding photo was just two passport photos of the two of them glued together.
Fast forward, 8 years later and 8 days ago at the time this article is published, after translating a letter by Lawyer Yu’s wife, I was asked to translate an infographic about Liu Xia. Oh good, she got out of China and went to Berlin! But no, she was near suicidal and then suddenly there were photos of her laughing like a mad woman in Berlin at a barbeque!
It all seemed so surreal and unreal! Fake news interpretations abound! I was mildly concerned for her. What if she survived Beijing Bullying nutjobs only to end up drowned in well-meaning but dangerous Public media that will end up destroying her last shred of sanity faster than the Shrinks in Berlin can help her?
Looking at her as just an ordinary human being who has been locked up with no internet for 7yrs, I try to imagine what would happen if she got a Troll-bot attack online? Will she be able to handle the nutjobs that threaten rape, violence and crap to all public female figures? Is it fair to put her through Brietbart style racist trolls and Russain robots that argue nonsense day and night?
These are not just my conjecture, it is a condition of normal western life in 2018. Somebody better start deploying some PR protection tactics around the poor woman before modern dot.com life catches up!
So I got roped into translating the infographics. At least I know it is 100% accurate!
If you cared, you’d already know about the details. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t think she was any different than hundreds and thousands of other cases of families of dissidents in China being locked up for crimes they didn’t commit.
There is nothing new in the story since the Communist Government decided to “tank ” their own people way back at Tiananmen in 1989. Not a lot has changed. China got richer and some of the idiots developed more expensive but still pretty bad taste in fashion! Emperor Xi declared himself perpetual communist leader until death…..hmm.
People are still being worked to death, but instead of making Chairman Mao suits they are now sewing Ivanka Skank Trump’s crap shoes. So the bad things stayed the same, and yet another wife of a dissident is driven into a kind of bipolar depression. Literally, a person can be clinically driven into madness then death by very organized psychological torture tactics.
Her and Liu Xiaobo’s love story continued. 10/10/2010, the Liu Xiaobo got the Nobel Peace Prize was the day Liu Xia was put under house arrest. 13/7/2017 Liu Xiaobo was diagnosed with Liver Cancer and died. Liu Xia was inconsolable. By then Liu Xia has been under house arrest for 7 years
So Liu Xia suffered for over a decade, now she is mentally ill and she is in Berlin.
What I found startling was that the spokeswoman from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I cannot remember her name, so lets just use the petname I gave her “Skanky”! Skanky decided to “remind everyone that Liu Xia is permitted out of China to seek medical treatment”. Skanky was implying that a few photos of her at a barbecue, being god-forbid, Happy for once in a decade was somehow showing that she had been fake the whole time. If Skanky did not say it out loud, she certainly implied it with the usual Chinese communist doublespeak. I am not going to translate Skanky’s words to you. It is just skanky.
Can I just say, if I had to listen to Skanky making snide comments about every aspects of my private life constantly, I would go crazy too!
What Crime did Liu Xia commit? Nothing. She committed no crime. She was never charged.
Herein lies the point I am trying to make and maybe it is better made by my tennis ex-teammate James “annoying” Rice. We were ten, I punched him in the head at some point for annoying me about my “Yu” surname in gifted children group in primary school. He was an annoying kid but he also went on to win the prestigious Stien Rokkan Norwegian social Science prize about “discretionary time”‘ as a new measure of freedom! Cambridge University Press was all over it.
I didn’t want to pay £40 for his book, so I asked his brother to just summarise it for me. Luckily his brother is a Physics Professor and was my tennis mixed doubles partner so he knew what I am like and he sent me a short infographics paper of his theories! 🙂
10/7/2018 Liu Xia finally left China, to begin her new life.
Anyway, the point is, even if the Chinese Government did NOTHING to Liu Xia as they alleged, apart from monitoring her. They took away her “‘discretionary time'”. If you define Freedom, not just in terms of nobody else getting to decide if you lived or died, but rather the right to CHOOSE how to spend your time. ‘Skanky” the Communist Government Ministry Spokeswoman was abusing Liu Xia publicly even AFTER the sick woman left for Berlin. She is basically saying that if a Chinese citizen CHOOSE to spend her time meeting a few friends, maybe playing with their pets and talking to their children and just generally participate in normal life for a few minutes, somehow she was magically “free” even though she was monitored continuously 24/7/365 for 7 years! Talk about gaslighting in yet another round of abusive communist psychological torture!
When a person in any Government gets to DECIDE he or she has the right to comment on how I or anyone around me spend our discretionary times and who we choose to spend it with, the government will be facing a social riot in most first world countries!
The reason why “Skanky” from the Ministry is able to say that of Liu Xia is because she is used to taking away her Discretionary time by bullying away her freedom of Choice. Even if Liu could walk around Beijing anytime she wanted while she was constantly monitored, that act of constant surveillance already took away her discretion to freely choose how she would like to use her time. So the claim that she had “free will” and therefore freedom is artificial if pressure is constantly brought to bear on a person preventing them from CHOOSING according to her discretion!
This is what affirms for me, the importance of Charter08. It isn’t really about one guy or his wife. It is about Modern China vying for its rights to use their times as they please ; the freedom to CHOOSE without the government constantly trying to get inside people’s heads and telling people what to do, what to think, how to think.
Because Beijing is stuck in an authoritarian mentality, it has no concept of the abstract idea of “FREE TIME”. The communist mentality sees people as mere workers in work units. Whenever they are not producing, they are NOTHING. They shouldn’t even be happy at a barbecue for a few seconds because that is not “State-sanctioned Fun”. Though any idiots could tell you that State-sanctioned Fun is about as fun as a colonoscopy!
Even though, I don’t think Liu Xia is important to me and I am not that into her poetry, Skanky from the Ministry actually helped me understand why Liu is so mentally ill and tortured as a human being.
All of Liu’s famous friends aside, I would love to see Liu just spend time with normal friends she can trust and talk to. I would like to see her get a pet; a cat, a dog or a goldfish? Anything! Because as far as I am concerned, each action she takes in her own time, exercising her CHOICE to spend her free time as she pleases, is an affirmation of what her husband wished for all of China and died for!
One would wish for Liu Xia, beyond the infographics, more #realtime with REAL people doing ordinary things. One would wish for her to be left alone by all the drama and the bickering of modern politics and just be able to trust again. To trust that there are people who respect her Discretionary time. People who will not document her every move and either report it to the Chinese Government or send it out to the world media so they can feed like piranhas on the controversy of her late husband’s ordinary yet courageous requests of Freedom for every small human being inside a Totalitarian Communist Country.
I wish for the poor creature to just get a bit of Free time to talk to a friend, get a pet, sit in her garden or by the sea…and just be allowed to BE without anyone else commenting on what, where, why or how she is BEING!
Anyway, here’s the infographics, I think I’ve “interpreted it”. I hope you find my musing useful to better understand why ” It ain’t easy being Liu or Yu or Wu or Gao or anyone inside Big6 Communist China…for them…Discretionary time = ZERO because Big Brother said so!”
I’m sure you can figure out what the Chinese in the infographics actually say from the cartoons, if not, just read Liu Xia’s life in Wikipedia!
P.S Doctor “Annoying” Rice, glad your research is better than your dodgy tennis backhand! 😂 Congrats! Well done for your team’s effort in furthering human knowledge!
Article by Cecilia.W.Yu, all opinions are my own and do not reflect the views of any other organizations.
Infographics Compiled by Fung O Ling (c) 香港市民支援愛國民主運動聯合會 Hong Kong Alliance , Worldwide 2018. Hong Kong Alliance’s current position is best summarised in this article “Why a HK group feels Liu Xia should be left alone for now?”
Quote: ‘As chairman of the Alliance and former Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan told the media, the most important thing right now is to allow Liu to take a good rest and avoid asking her to attend any public assembly or hearing. Nor should people eagerly expect Liu Xia to fill her late husband’s shoes in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Alliance stressed that it would continue to fight for the release of other mainland dissidents that are still being held in custody and draw public attention to their situation.”
Translations by http://www.CeciliaYu.com