Around 3,000 Christmas cards signed by Hongkongers have been sent to China’s jailed activists and Liu Xia, the widow of the late Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo.
The organiser, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, collected the cards at street booths set up across Hong Kong every weekend over the past two months.
The alliance has been running the campaign every year since 1989 to deliver Hongkongers’ messages to China’s jailed activists.
On Thursday, around 20 members from the group marched from the HSBC building in Central to the post office headquarters, where they mailed the cards.
The cards were addressed to Liu Xia, the families of the victims who lost their lives during the 1989 Tianamen Massacre, and jailed activists such as human rights lawyers Jiang Tianyong and Guo Feixiong.
The alliance expressed hope that the Chinese government would allow the cards to be delivered to them in accordance with Article 40 of China’s constitution, which guarantees the freedom and privacy of correspondence to its citizens.
It also urged the government to improve prison conditions for those serving jail time.
Democratic Party politician Albert Ho told RFA that more people signed the cards this year than usual, possibly because the death of Liu Xiaobo in July brought more public awareness to the fate of Liu Xia and other activists in China.
“We have had some cards returned to us, but that also means that the other cards were successfully delivered,” Ho said.
“When I met [Chinese activist] Chen Guangcheng in New York two years ago, he said he did not receive the cards [when he was in jail]. But he heard about the cards from prison guards, and even though they were sent back to Hong Kong, the news cheered him up. So we believe writing to jailed activists is a meaningful activity.”
Since Liu Xiaobo’s death, authorities have restricted his widow’s contact with the outside world. Her whereabouts remain unknown despite calls from the international community for the Chinese government to let her leave the country.
In a letter to the 2009 Nobel Literature Prize Laureate Herta Mueller, which was made public earlier this month, Liu Xia said she was “going mad” and compared her life in isolation to that of a plant.
The alliance also has plans to march to the China Liaison Office on Christmas day to demand that the Chinese government stop the “persecution” of dissidents.