Liu Xiaobo

Widow of late dissident Liu Xiaobo back in Beijing, relative says

Liu Xia – who has been largely out of contact with the outside world since her husband died – said to have returned to the capital but it’s unclear where she is

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 August, 2017, 10:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 August, 2017, 10:04pm

The widow of late Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has returned to Beijing but it’s unclear where she is, a family member said on Tuesday, about three weeks after her husband’s death.

Liu Xia was permitted to be with her husband at a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang in his final days. But her whereabouts were unknown until now as she was placed under surveillance by Chinese authorities and has remained largely out of contact with the outside world since his death on July 13.

The family member told Kyodo News that Liu Xia had returned to Beijing, as supporters and foreign countries continued to urge the Chinese government to grant her freedom of movement.

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The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy also quoted relatives of Liu Xia as saying that she was in Beijing on Tuesday but they were unable to speak to her directly.

“Liu Xia’s family members confirmed at 10am that both Liu Xia and Liu Hui [her brother] are in Beijing today,” the centre said in a statement, although it was unable to confirm whether she was at home.

But some of Liu Xia’s close contacts – including her lawyer, Mo Shaoping, and friends Ye Du, a dissident poet, and activist Hu Jia – said they had not heard any news of her whereabouts.

Hu said there was no sign to suggest that Liu was back home as of Monday evening, citing other activists who had checked on her apartment.

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“Her being back in Beijing and back in her apartment are two different things,” Hu said. “She might still be locked up or she’s been placed with relatives in Beijing upon returning to the city.”

Liu Xiaobo, an outspoken critic of China’s Communist Party, was in June transferred to hospital after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer while he served an 11-year jail sentence for his part in drafting a manifesto calling for peaceful democratic reform, known as “Charter 08”.

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The dissident was sentenced in 2009 and his wife, an artist and poet, was put under house arrest the following year after he won the Nobel Peace Prize “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”.

Additional reporting by Mimi Lau