Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo dies after cancer struggle

China says Taiwan remarks on dissident Liu 'very dangerous' China cremates body of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo
Kayla Schwartz | 17 July, 2017, 12:21

Family members and friends of late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo on Saturday bid him farewell in China's Shenyang city. A video about Liu's hospital treatment released on the website of Shenyang's judicial bureau Friday appeared aimed at the same objective.

Liu's elder brother, also addressing reporters at the briefing, thanked the ruling Communist Party and the government for its handling of his brother's funeral.

"After all, he's a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and he died after being suppressed by the authorities", Hu said.

Officials "fear that if someone who is as emblematic a symbol as Liu Xiaobo had a burial ground, it would become a place where his supporters would gather on his memorial day, the day he received the Nobel or any other such occasions to express their desire to chase after freedom", activist and family friend Ye Du said.

While the Communist regime claimed the family chose to cremate Liu Xiaobo and hold a simple funeral for him, family friends rejected this and claimed his widow is under tight surveillance. He claimed her name was not listed and said: "The resident doesn't want to see you".

A government official in Shenyang, where Mr Liu had been jailed, told a news conference: "According to my understanding, Liu Xia is now free", adding that as a Chinese citizen, her rights would be protected under the law.

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"As far as I know, Liu Xia is in a free condition", municipal official Zhang said, though friends cast doubt that she was released.

Chinese state media continued to reject foreign criticism of Beijing's treatment of Mr Liu.

Authorities also released photos of a private ceremony attended by his family, including his wife, whose fate worries supporters hoping the government will cede to global pressure to release her and let her leave China. "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". "But now we must free Liu Xia, because she has already suffered so much".

China's government faced a global backlash for denying Liu Xiaobo's wish to be treated overseas, and the United States and European Union have called on the government to free Liu Xia. "But she just lost her relative and is in deep sorrow", spokesman Zhang Qingyang said. One notable exception is a newspaper published by the Communist Party that said in an editorial that the West was "deifying" Liu, a man the paper described as a criminal who was "paranoid, naive and arrogant".

Liu was imprisoned multiple times throughout his life.

Wong reported from Beijing.

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