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China urged to release wife of jailed Nobel peace prize laureate


Summary of story from The Guardian, October 4, 2011

Campaigners have urged foreign governments to press China to release Liu Xia, the wife of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, after hearing nothing from her for a year.

The demand came after Liu Xiaobo’s brothers were allowed to visit her husband recently, the first time since July 2010.

The Hong Kong Human Rights Centre said that Liu Xia could be allowed to visit her husband this month, the first time since October last year when she told him he had won the Nobel prize.

Liu Xia has been out of contact since a few days after the Nobel committee announced they were awarding her husband, a critic and former academic, the peace prize.

He is currently serving an 11-year sentence for inciting subversion of state power, after calling for democratic reforms in China.

Some thought she had been silenced as a temporary measure to prevent her collecting the prize, but she has remained incommunicado and is believed to be under house arrest.

Her only known contact with the outside world came in February, when she managed to get online briefly and told a friend that she was miserable, that no one could help her, and that “my whole family are hostages” (see WVoN story).

The Chinese government denies there are any restraints on Liu Xia.

Activists and lawyers are concerned that proposed changes to China’s criminal procedure law would give police new powers to hold suspects at secret locations for long periods without having to tell their families.

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