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Thousands sign petition asking China to free Noble Peace laureate’s widow

Liu Xia, wife of late Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiabo. (Photo courtesy: China Digital Times)
Liu Xia, wife of late Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiabo. (Photo courtesy: China Digital Times)

(TibetanReview.net, Jul30, 2017) – More than 60,000 people have signed an online petition launched by the London-based international human rights group Amnesty International, calling on China to free late Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiabo’s wife Liu Xia, reported aljazeera.com Jul 29.

Liu Xia, 56, was with Liu Xiaobo when he died of liver cancer at a hospital in northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang on Jul 14. He was serving an 11-year sentence for inciting subversion of state power at the time of his death.

Liu Xia was last seen in a Chinese government photo at her husband’s funeral on Jul 15. Her whereabouts have since remained unknown. None of her friends and relatives in Beijing has been able to reach her directly. Activists fear she may have been forcibly disappeared, such as by being taken on a forced ‘vacation’, a common experience for human rights and democracy activists when the government does not want them to be at their usual addresses during such times as ahead of politically sensitive events in China.

The Amnesty petition urges the Chinese government “to end the illegal house arrest and surveillance of Liu Xia, stop her harassment and allow her to travel freely”.

“It’s illegal for the Chinese government to restrict her freedom, and we urge the authorities to lift all restrictions on Liu Xia and let her go anywhere she wishes,” Patrick Poon, Amnesty International’s China researcher, was quoted as saying.

Liu Xia, a poet and artist who was not known to have engaged in politics, has been under effective house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010. She was never charged with an offence, but was kept guarded and largely isolated for more than seven years in the apartment she once shared with her husband.

“A number of ambassadors have repeatedly asked for a meeting with Chinese security organs – so far to no avail,” the report quoted a German Embassy source as saying, speaking on the condition of anonymity, referring to the situation of Liu Xia.

The report also noted that the UN, US, EU and other foreign governments and groups had urged China to lift restrictions on Liu Xia’s movements.

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