Sunday, November 19, 2017 | ePaper

China cremates body of Nobel laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo

  • Print


A man writes a message and holds a portrait outside the Chinese Liaison Office of Hong Kong after the death of Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, in Hong Kong on Friday.

AFP, Shenyang :
The body of China's late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo was cremated Saturday after a private ceremony attended by his family, as Beijing faces international pressure to let the dissident's wife leave the country. Liu's remains were incinerated "in accordance with the will of his family members and local customs" in the northeastern city of Shenyang, said Zhang Qingyang, an official from the municipal office.
Officials released photos showing his wife, the poet 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. China's government faced a global backlash for denying the democracy advocate's wish to be treated abroad. After his death, the United States and European Union called on Beijing to free Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010, and let her leave the country. "As far as I know, Liu Xia is in a free condition," Zhang said, though it was unclear whether she was released as he did not answer questions about her whereabouts.
Authorities have severely restricted Liu Xia's contact with the outside world and Jared Genser, a US lawyer who represented the Nobel Peace Prize winner, said she has been held "incommunicado" since her husband's death.
"The most preposterous thing is that even during his cremation and funeral he 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," Hu Jia, a Beijing-based activist and family friend, told AFP.
Liu was jailed in 2008 after co-writing a petition calling for democratic reforms. The veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "subversion" a year later.
He died of multiple organ failure at a Shenyang hospital on Thursday at age 61, more than a month after he was transferred from prison due to late-stage liver cancer. At his 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".
"She has just lost her husband, so she is currently emotionally grieving," Zhang said.
"It's best for her not to receive too much outside interference during this period after Liu Xiaobo has died," he said. Zhang said authorities would release information about where Liu Xiaobo's ashes will be taken "at an appropriate time". 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.
Another family friend and activist, Ye Du, also cast doubt that she was released: "Liu Xia has never been free. There's no doubt about that."

More News For this Category

German parties head into long weekend of coalition talks

German parties head into long weekend of coalition talks

Reuters, Berlin :Germany's would-be coalition partners continued talks on Friday after all-night negotiations failed to produce a breakthrough, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives saying they would compromise further on

Zimbabwe's ruling party to hold rally as anti-Mugabe tide rises

Zimbabwe's ruling party to hold rally as anti-Mugabe tide rises

Reuters, Harare :President Robert Mugabe's own ruling ZANU-PF party wants him to step down and plans to hold a rally in Zimbabwe's capital Harare on Saturday to make the

Elizabeth appoints 1st woman in 650 years to top job in Houses of Parliament

Xinhua, London :British Queen Elizabeth II approved Friday the appointment of Sarah Clarke as the new Black Rod in the House of Lords, a job held by 60 men

Syria toxic gas inquiry to end after Russia again blocks UN renewal

Syria toxic gas inquiry to end after Russia again blocks UN renewal

Reuters, United Nations :An international investigation into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria will end on Friday after Russia blocked for the third time in

UN climate envoys agree on way forward, ignoring Trump

UN climate envoys agree on way forward, ignoring Trump

AFP, Bonn :Negotiations to bolster the climate-saving Paris Agreement, crafted over two decades, closed in Bonn Saturday, deflated but not derailed by Donald Trump's rejection of the treaty and

News In Brief

Egypt opens Gaza border crossing for 3 daysAP, RafahGaza's border crossing into Egypt is running under the Palestinian Authority's control for the first time in a decade.Egypt opened the

Lebanon's PM arrives in Paris for talks with Macron

Lebanon's PM arrives in Paris for talks with Macron

Reuters, Paris :Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon's prime minister this month while in Saudi Arabia, arrived in Paris on Saturday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, a

Russia casts 10th UN veto on Syria action, blocking inquiry renewal

Russia casts 10th UN veto on Syria action, blocking inquiry renewal

Reuters, United Nations :Russia cast its 10th veto on Thursday of United Nations Security Council action on Syria since the war began in 2011, blocking a U.S.-drafted resolution to

Belgian judge weighs extradition bid for Catalan ex-leader

Belgian judge weighs extradition bid for Catalan ex-leader

AFP, Brussels :A Belgian court will on Friday consider whether to send axed Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont back to Spain to face charges of rebellion and sedition over his

Chinese envoy in North Korea amid chill in ties

AP, Pyongyang :The highest-level Chinese envoy to North Korea in two years arrived in the country's capital on Friday to try to improve relations that have soured over Beijing's