AP Interviews Liu Xia; Hitchens on North Korea
In the debate over whether our focus should be on domestic or foreign policy. My simple answer has always been that we ought to pay attention to both. Even with the ‘fiscal cliff’ approaching, stories like this always remind us that foreign policy is about people too, and their aspiration to be free from oppressive governments.
BEIJING (AP) – Liu Xia trembled uncontrollably and cried Thursday as she described how her confinement under house arrest has been absurd and emotionally draining in the two years since her jailed activist husband, Liu Xiaobo, was named a Nobel Peace laureate in 2010.
Breathless from disbelief at receiving unexpected visitors into her home and with a shaking voice, Liu spoke in her first interview in 26 months – a brief conversation with journalists from The Associated Press who managed to visit her apartment while the guards who watch it apparently stepped away for lunch.
Liu said her continuing house arrest has been painfully surreal and in stark contrast to China’s celebratory response to this year’s Chinese victory among the Nobels – literature prize winner Mo Yan. Liu said she has been confined to her duplex apartment in downtown Beijing with no Internet or outside phone line and is only allowed weekly trips to buy groceries and visit her parents.
“We live in such an absurd place,” she said. “It is so absurd. I felt I was a person emotionally prepared to respond to the consequences of Liu Xiaobo winning the prize. But after he won the prize, I really never imagined that after he won, I would not be able to leave my home. This is too absurd. I think Kafka could not have written anything more absurd and unbelievable than this.”
When we talk about China, the focus is often on its trade practices and potential to become an important market for western businesses. The people forced to live under the oppressive Communist regime are all too often forgotten.
There’s more in that excellent AP-article, if you’re interested.
Here’s Christopher Hitchens comparing North Korea to George Orwell’s 1984: