WORLD Calls to re­lease ac­tivist’s widow

Townsville Bulletin - - WORLD -

CHINA faced in­ter­na­tional calls yes­ter­day to free the widow of No­bel lau­re­ate Liu Xiaobo af­ter global con­dem­na­tion over the com­mu­nist regime’s re­fusal to grant the democ­racy cham­pion’s dy­ing wish to leave the coun­try.

The United States and the Euro­pean Union urged Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s gov­ern­ment to let Liu’s widow, the poet Liu Xia, who has been un­der house ar­rest since 2010, leave the coun­try.

Chi­nese doc­tors said she was by her hus­band’s side when he lost his bat­tle with liver can­cer on Thurs­day at age 61, more than a month af­ter he was trans­ferred from prison to a hos­pi­tal in the north­east­ern city of Shenyang.

Liu’s main doc­tor said he was able to say good­bye to his wife and in his fi­nal mo­ments told her to “live well”.

But author­i­ties have re­stricted her con­tact with the out­side world and her where­abouts were un­known fol­low­ing the death of her hus­band, a vet­eran of the 1989 Tianan­men Square protests whose ad­vo­cacy for demo­cratic re­form in­fu­ri­ated the gov­ern­ment.

“I call on the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to re­lease Liu Xia from house ar­rest and al­low her to de­part China, ac­cord­ing to her wishes,” US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said.

The EU urged Bei­jing to let Liu Xia and Liu’s fam­ily bury him “at a place and in a man­ner of their choos­ing, and to al­low them to grieve in peace”.

Jared Genser, a US lawyer who rep­re­sented Liu, said all con­tact with Liu Xia had been cut off in the past 48 hours.

“I am deeply wor­ried about what’s happening with her right now,” Genser told CNN, adding it would be hard to jus­tify con­tin­u­ing to hold her with­out charges.

For­eign min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang re­jected the crit­i­cism of China’s han­dling of Liu’s death, adding that doc­tors made “all- out” ef­forts to treat him.

“China is a coun­try un­der the rule of law. The han­dling of Liu Xiaobo’s case be­longs to China’s in­ter­nal af­fairs, and for­eign coun­tries are in no po­si­tion to make im­proper re­marks,” Geng said.

Liu was jailed in 2008 af­ter co- writ­ing a pe­ti­tion call­ing for demo­cratic re­forms and was sen­tenced to 11 years in prison for “sub­ver­sion” a year later.

He be­came the first No­bel Peace Prize lau­re­ate to die in cus­tody since Ger­man paci­fist Carl von Ossi­et­zky in 1938.

He had been held by the Nazis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.