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Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xia, wife of late Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, ‘back in Beijing’

Hong Kong-based activist speaks to Liu Xia in tearful phone call to her home in the Chinese capital

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 September, 2017, 9:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 September, 2017, 11:18pm

Liu Xia, the wife of late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, has returned to her Beijing home, human rights activists said after speaking to her on the phone on Saturday.

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said its founder, Frank Lu Siqing, spoke to Liu Xia on the phone for half an hour after calling her at her home in the Chinese capital.

Friends and supporters had been concerned about Liu Xia’s whereabouts since her husband’s death from liver cancer in July.

In a statement, Lu said Liu told him in the tearful phone call that she did not have the urn used to hold Liu Xiaobo’s ashes before his sea burial.

Lu said he also asked Liu to stop taking medication for depression.

“Liu, speaking in a weak voice, explained to me that she could not stop taking the drug,” he said. “I told her that those drugs are not safe.

“I also asked her to quit smoking, and she promised me that she would smoke less.”

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Lu also asked Liu Xia to visit Hong Kong for two or three weeks, saying it could help with treatment for her depression.

“I told her that many Hong Kong people respect and like her and Liu Xiaobo. The atmosphere in Hong Kong is better for her to deal with depression,” he said.

“I could take her walking around Hong Kong.

“She felt better when we talked about Hong Kong.”

Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010, appeared in a video posted on YouTube after her husband’s funeral, saying she was “recovering” outside Beijing and asking people to give her time to mourn.

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Friend Ye Du said Liu answered the phone when he called her Beijing home on Saturday but she could not hear him.

“Liu kept asking who I was and saying that she could not hear me,” Ye said.

The call lasted roughly 20 seconds and he could not get through when he tried to call again.

Before her husband’s death, Liu Xia told diplomats and friends that she wished to leave China should Liu Xiaobo be released.

Friends said that after being diagnosed with cancer Liu Xiaobo also asked to receive treatment abroad, a wish friends said was for his wife’s sake. But the request was not granted.

He died aged 61 in a Liaoning hospital on July 13, becoming the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky in 1938.

Liu Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges.