Chi­nese dis­si­dent Liu’s ashes scat­tered in sea

The No­bel lau­re­ate died on Thurs­day af­ter a bat­tle with cancer, re­main­ing in cus­tody un­til the end

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Shenyang, China - The ashes of China’s late No­bel lau­re­ate Liu Xiaobo were scat­tered in the sea on Satur­day af­ter a con­tro­ver­sial fu­neral, as his friends wor­ried about the fate of the democ­racy ad­vo­cate’s wi­dow.

Of­fi­cials showed a video in which his wife, Liu Xia, and oth­ers low­ered a white cir­cu­lar urn into the water, two days af­ter the democ­racy ad­vo­cate died of liver cancer aged 61 while in cus­tody.

The sea burial de­prives fam­ily and sup­port­ers of a phys­i­cal place to pay re­spects to a writer whose calls for po­lit­i­cal re­form an­gered the Com­mu­nist regime and led to his ar­rest in 2008.

His older brother, Liu Xiaoguang, paid trib­ute to the Com­mu­nist Party and thanked of­fi­cials for their ‘ hu­man­is­tic care’ as he spoke at a news con­fer­ence or­ches­trated by the au­thor­i­ties in the north­east­ern city of Shenyang, where Liu Xiaobo died on Thurs­day.

Au­thor­i­ties have tightly con­trolled in­for­ma­tion about Liu Xiaobo’s health and life as well as ac­cess to his fam­ily mem­bers.

Liu Xiaoguang said Liu Xia - who has been un­der house ar­rest since 2010 and has yet to ap­pear in pub­lic since his death - was in ‘weak con­di­tion’ and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing such ‘great sor­row’ and that she may need to be treated in hos­pi­tal.

“[Liu Xiaobo’s body was cre­mated] in ac­cor­dance with the will of his fam­ily mem­bers and lo­cal cus­toms”, said Zhang Qingyang, an of­fi­cial from the Shenyang mu­nic­i­pal of­fice.

Of­fi­cials re­leased pho­tos show­ing Liu Xia with her brother, and two of Liu Xiaobo’s broth­ers in front of the body, which was cov­ered with white petals and sur­rounded by flow­ers at a fu­neral home.

Zhang also said ‘friends’ were at the cer­e­mony.

But Amnesty In­ter­na­tional’s China re­searcher Pa­trick Poon told AFP that he did not recog­nise any of the row of non-fam­ily mem­bers in the of­fi­cial photo and peo­ple close to the Liu cou­ple iden­ti­fied at least one ‘state se­cu­rity po­lice of­fi­cer’ among them.

Chi­nese dis­si­dent artist critic Ai Wei­wei, who lives in Berlin tweeted a photo of the fu­neral and called the dis­play ‘dis­gust­ing’ and a ‘vi­o­la­tion’ of the de­ceased.

Res­cue wife ‘fast’

China’s gov­ern­ment faced a global back­lash for deny­ing Liu Xiaobo’s wish to be treated abroad, and the US and EU have called on the gov­ern­ment to re­lease Liu Xia and let her leave China. “As far as I know, Liu Xia is in a free con­di­tion,” mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cial Zhang said, though friends cast doubt that she was re­leased.

Jared Genser, a US lawyer who rep­re­sented the No­bel Peace Prize win­ner, said Liu Xia has been held ‘in­com­mu­ni­cado’ since her hus­band’s death.

“The most pre­pos­ter­ous thing is that even dur­ing his cre­ma­tion and fu­neral she still was not free. And now it’s been passed on to his wife, who will con­tinue to lead on that same free­dom-less ex­is­tence,” said Hu Jia, a Bei­jing­based ac­tivist and fam­ily friend.

At the fu­neral, Mozart’s Re­quiem was played and Liu Xia ‘fixed her eyes on him a long time, mum­bling to say farewell,’ Zhang said, ad­ding that she was ‘in very low spir­its’.

Genser said Liu Xia has been held for seven years even though she has never been charged with any crime. “The world needs to mo­bilise to res­cue her - and fast,” he said in a state­ment.


A man pays homage at a makeshift me­mo­rial for the late Chi­nese No­bel lau­re­ate Liu Xiaobo, out­side the Chi­nese Li­ai­son Of­fice in Hong Kong on Satur­day

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