Nearly two weeks after Liu Xiaobo’s death, no one knows what has happened to his widow, Liu Xia, who seems to have “fallen off the face of the earth.”
Hoping to find out, yesterday a Sky News team paid a visit to Liu Xia’s Beijing home, where she has been held under unofficial house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Authorities apparently did not appreciate the unannounced visit with security guards surrounding the news team and yelling at them to “Get out!”
In video of the incident, one security guard can be seen grabbing and shoving correspondent Katie Stallard while others try to cover up cameras. When Stallard asks if Liu Xia is home, the guard replies, “Which Liu Xia?” and asks if she has made an appointment.
Liu Xia’s husband, Liu Xiaobo, China’s most famous jailed dissident, died on July 13th of muliple organ failure at a Chinese hospital while still under heavy guard. Jailed since 2009 for fighting for democratics reforms in China, Liu was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in May before being transferred from his prison cell to a hospital room in Shenyang where his treatment became an international issue as Chinese authorities refused to allow Liu the chance the seek treatment abroad despite his family’s reported wishes and calls from around the globe.
Following Liu Xiaobo’s death, his supporters began focusing their attention on the fate of Liu Xia. She was last seen in propaganda photos and videos released by the Chinese government of Liu Xiaobo’s abrupt funeral ceremony where he was hasitly burnt up and fed to the fishes, ensuring that the human rights icon’s supporters will have no grave at which to honor his memory.
After that ceremony, Liu Xiaobo’s brother, Liu Xiaoguang, explained that Liu Xia was not in good health. Meanwhile, a Shenyang government spokesperson told reporters that she was “free” and that the Chinese government would “protect her legitimate rights in accordance with the law,” but added that she still needs more time to grieve.
However, since then, her close friends and even her lawyer have been unable to get in contact with her. During a regular press conference in Beijing, Stallard asked: “If Liu Xia is a free woman, why can’t she speak to her friends or leave China?”
“I do not know the information you mentioned and this is not a diplomatic question,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang replied. “Next question.” The exchange was later redacted from the official transcript of the presser.
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