In the first whisper of a comment since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 48 hours earlier, imprisoned Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo sent word through his wife Sunday that he would dedicate the award to activists killed during 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square, according to a human rights organization.
The writer’s wife, who has been held virtually incommunicado for days by Chinese authorities, was able to talk briefly with her husband at Jinzhou Prison in northern China’s Liaoning province. Liu Xia posted to her Twitter account to inform supporters that her husband had wept at news of his award, and that she is now under house arrest.
Liu, now 54, had been at Columbia University in New York in 1989 when the demonstrations began, but rushed home to advise students. Hundreds were killed when authorities cracked down.
Few other details about Sunday’s meeting were available because the writer’s wife, herself an activist, has been under close watch by Chinese authorities, who escorted her back to the couple’s home in Beijing after the meeting and confiscated her cell phone.
At one point, however, she was able to post a comment on Twitter in which she hinted at the couple’s despair at their simultaneous good fortune and immense tragedy. The Nobel Peace Prize is arguably the most prestigious honor in the world, in addition to carrying a $1.5 million award.
“Brothers and sisters, I just got back. I have been under house arrest since and have no idea when I can see you all. My cell phone is ruined so I am not able to pick up any phone calls,” Liu Xia wrote in the posting under her name, Liuxia64. “We will speak about it little by little.”