SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The pregnant wife of a prominent Chinese dissident has arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area with their 4-year-old son to live as refugees for at least a year, an activist said Wednesday.
Liu Xiaodong, 40, the wife of Zhao Changqing, arrived with the boy Tuesday from Bangkok. She was escorted by Jianli Yang, president of Initiatives for China/Citizen Power for China, a grassroots movement dedicated to a peaceful transition to democracy.
Yang said Xiaodong will live with supporters in suburban Hayward and take care of her children. Her baby is due Aug. 23.
The 47-year-old Changqing has been a leading defender of human rights and democracy in China since the 1989 Tiananmen Students Movement.
As a former student leader and a prominent political “prisoner of conscience,” he has been imprisoned five times in 27 years.
Xiaodong says her husband was released a week ago and is living in China under heavy surveillance.
She said she spoke to him while traveling and he is doing fine physically but having difficulty finding a permanent home. She said he will stay in China to continue his work.
In 2005, Changqing refused to participate in a flag-raising ceremony or sing the national anthem. He was put into solitary confinement for more than a month. He was later returned to solitary confinement for refusing to take part in military drills and for receiving Falun Gong members, according to published reports.
His wife and son left China in May for Bangkok. She says she no longer felt safe in Thailand.