Friday, 21 July, 2017

Australia Urges China to Release Dissident Liu Xiaobo's Widow

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Sammy Stanley | 17 July, 2017, 16:04

"The authorities are very anxious that a grave would be the focal point of the public's actions to memorialize him, which could easily turn into protests". We saw from the authorities' photos of the funeral that she is weak and pained. She is extremely sad. "I'm incredibly concerned about her health and welfare". He had been serving an 11-year sentence for sedition after being arrested in 2009 for promoting a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08. In the run-up to his death, Beijing faced mounting global criticism for not letting him and his wife travel for treatment overseas as he had wished. But the authorities refused to let him go.

After Liu's death, Germany's foreign minister pressed China to allow his wife, Liu Xia, to leave for Germany or another country of her choice.

AFP could not confirm if she had returned from northeast China.

I remain lucky to have known Liu through his writings and his friends - I will struggle to come to terms with his departure, but I take comfort in imagining how many people are now mourning his loss around the world.

Instead, he died, as he lived much of the last two decades, deprived of his freedom, and silenced, cut off from the outside world.

A banner displaying a sketch of late Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia is displayed outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong on Saturday.

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Simpson will participate by video conference from Lovelock Correctional Center, where he has been living since December 2008. The parole board, for example, has said it will issue a decision Thursday so to minimize distractions.

Liu Xiaobo led a hunger strike during the Tiananmen Square protests in which hundreds or perhaps even thousands of people died when Chinese troops beat, shot and crushed demonstrators during protests in the early morning hours of June 4, 1989. "But she just lost her relative and is in deep sorrow", spokesman Zhang Qingyang said.

"This regime has always been acting without humanity - that's why they denied him even a minute of freedom even until his death", Mo said.

At the press conference, Liu Xiaobo's brother, Liu Xiaoguang, backed up the government's story, claiming that the family had made a decision to feed Liu to the fishes for "environmental reasons", before going on to praise the Chinese government for its "humanitarian spirit".

"The desire for greater freedom, the desire to have a say in who governs you are irresistible human desires and that's all that Liu Xiaobo was doing", she told ABC TV on Sunday.

But supporters said it was impossible to verify if the family had really wanted a sea burial and noted that the brothers were politically at odds.

The briefing, at which officials also provided images of the funeral, was the latest in a tightly orchestrated Chinese government propaganda campaign seemingly aimed at countering criticism that Beijing has failed to handle Liu's case in a humanitarian way.

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