Liu Xiaobo's wife said to be kept off Beijing

July 18, 2017 16:54
It is believed that Liu Xia (center) will be made to 'travel' or be under house arrest outside Beijing to coincide with the party congress this fall. Photo: Shenyang Municipal Information Office via AP

The wife of deceased Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is unlikely to return to Beijing anytime soon as the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held in the capital this fall.

Liu Xia has been under house arrest in her home in Beijing since her husband Liu Xiaobo, a prominent dissident, was jailed in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power".

She attended his funeral in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning province, on July 15, two days after he died of liver cancer in a local hospital, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China on Monday cited her relatives as saying that she has neither returned home nor called them since, although her brother-in-law claimed she is safe and sound.

The authorities will not be happy to see her get media exposure because that could affect the atmosphere during the congress, according to a friend of hers, who expect her to be forced to "travel" or be under house arrest elsewhere.

It is also suspected that Liu Xiaobo's brothers and their wives have been arranged to be with her for surveillance purposes.

Asked whether Beijing will allow Liu Xia to go overseas, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang did not give a straight answer but only said she is a Chinese citizen and her rights will be protected according to the law.

Memorials for Liu Xiaobo continued to be held outside China, including one with nearly 100 mourners in Washington D.C. on Sunday. Party mouthpiece Global Times described him as "a tool used by western countries" and online discussions about him are banned in the mainland.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China is set to host a memorial for him in Tamar Park in Admiralty on Wednesday, the seventh day after his death when his soul is believed to return to the world according to Chinese tradition.

The group is calling on participants and other people to salute him by holding up three fingers to represent resistance, freedom and hope.

- Contact us at [email protected]