Liu Xiaobo's widow goes incommunicado

Liu Xia, in 2012. Pic/AFP
Liu Xia, in 2012. Pic/AFP

Friends of China's Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo, who died of liver cancer in custody on Thursday, said on Friday they were unable to contact his widow, Liu Xia, and that ensuring her freedom was now a top priority.

Liu Xiaobo, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power" after he helped write a petition known as "Charter 08" calling for sweeping political reforms. Liu Xia has been under effective house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 and was allowed to visit him in prison about once a month. Liu Xia was at the hospital as her husband's health deteriorated over the past couple of weeks.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he had no information about Liu Xia, but added that the entry and exit of Chinese citizens would be handled in accordance with the law. "Let's not make any prejudgements here," he responded, when pressed on whether Liu Xia was allowed to leave the country.

Xiaobo's Nobel was 'blasphemy': China
China said yesterday that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo amounted to "blasphemy". Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "Liu is a prisoner who was sentenced to imprisonment in accordance with Chinese law...Conferring the prize to such a person goes against the purposes of this award. It's a blasphemy of the peace prize."

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