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Chairs Urge Ambassador Branstad to Invite Liu Xia to U.S. Embassy in Beijing

July 21, 2017
 
(Washington D.C.)—U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China, respectively, are urging U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to invite Liu Xia to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
 
“Liu Xia’s isolation, continued surveillance and confinement and deprivation of the right to freedom of movement is deeply concerning and requires urgent, high level diplomatic engagement,” states the chairs’ letter. “As such, we request that you formally invite Liu Xia to the U.S. embassy for a meeting to better understand her current situation and long-term wishes, as well as to provide a space where she is able to speak her mind freely.  If such a request is denied, or she is blocked from visiting the Embassy, we ask that you try to meet her at her place of residence.” 
 
The text of the letter can be found here and below.
 
 
July 20, 2017
 
Dear Ambassador Branstad:
 
Your arrival in Beijing coincided with the news of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo’s deteriorating health, and ultimately his tragic death under the watchful eye of his captors.  Even as we mourn his loss and consider appropriate ways to honor his legacy, including his peaceful lifelong pursuit of human rights and the end of one-party rule in China, many in the broader rights community and in Congress are deeply concerned about the safety and welfare of his widow, Liu Xia
 
As you no doubt are aware, she too has suffered greatly including her illegal home confinement for seven years, since the 2010 announcement of Liu Xiaobo’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Liu Xia and her late husband reportedly expressed their earnest desire to receive medical treatment and care for his late-stage liver cancer outside of China, a dying wish that was callously denied by the Chinese government.  This weekend news reports emerged regarding Liu Xiaobo’s cremation, and the scattering of his ashes at sea, thereby ensuring that there would be no gravesite on land to attract admirers and followers sympathetic to his message.  The carefully orchestrated funeral service and accompanying government messaging made it clear that the Chinese government is going to great lengths to try to control the narrative surrounding Liu Xiaobo’s life and remembrance.
 
While the Chinese government has persisted in its claims that Liu Xia is free, while asserting that she is under their protection for her benefit, such claims are implausible at best.  Liu Xia’s isolation, continued surveillance and confinement and deprivation of the right to freedom of movement is deeply concerning and requires urgent, high level diplomatic engagement.  As such, we request that you formally invite Liu Xia to the U.S. embassy for a meeting to better understand her current situation and long-term wishes, as well as to provide a space where she is able to speak her mind freely.  If such a request is denied, or she is blocked from visiting the Embassy, we ask that you try to meet her at her place of residence.    
 
Thank you for your consideration of this request.  We look forward to working with you on shared issues of concern regarding human rights and rule of law in China.
 
Best wishes,

 

Marco Rubio                                                      Chris Smith
Chair                                                                 Cochair

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