Monday, July 24, 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

Divided UK, inconclusive election could put brakes on Brexit

Divided UK, inconclusive election could put brakes on Brexit

AP, London :Lucy Harris thinks Britain's decision to leave the European Union is a dream come true. Nick Hopkinson thinks it's a nightmare.The two Britons - a "leave" supporter

Syria strikes hit near Damascus despite ceasefire

Syria strikes hit near Damascus despite ceasefire

AFP, Beirut : Syria's regime carried out air raids on one of the last rebel strongholds near Damascus Sunday, a monitor said, a day after it declared a ceasefire in

Popularity tumbles for Macron: Poll

Popularity tumbles for Macron: Poll

AFP, Paris  :A poll out Sunday shows the popularity rating of France's new President Emmanuel Macron has slumped 10 points to hit 54 percent over the past month.While Macron

News In Brief

US may conduct missile test next weekendAP, KodiakThe U.S. will conduct as soon as next weekend another test of a missile defense system meant to counter threats from North

EU sounds alarm, urges US to coordinate on Russia sanctions

EU sounds alarm, urges US to coordinate on Russia sanctions

Reuters, Brussels :The European Union sounded an alarm on Saturday about moves in the US Congress to step up US sanctions on Russia, urging Washington to keep coordinating with

Netanyahu faces pressure over holy site after violence kills eight

Netanyahu faces pressure over holy site after violence kills eight

AFP, Jerusalem  :Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced mounting pressure Sunday over new security measures at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site after a weekend of violence left eight people

Netanyahu faces pressure over holy site after violence kills eight

Netanyahu faces pressure over holy site after violence kills eight

AFP, Jerusalem :Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced mounting pressure Sunday over new security measures at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site after a weekend of violence left eight people

Greek holiday isle battles to recover from deadly quake

Greek holiday isle battles to recover from deadly quake

AFP, Athens :The Greek holiday island of Kos on Saturday was struggling to recover from a quake that killed two people and injured hundreds, with tourists facing flight delays

May to stay as PM until at least 2020, close ally predicts

May to stay as PM until at least 2020, close ally predicts

Reuters, London :British transport minister Chris Grayling, one of Prime Minister Theresa May's closest cabinet colleagues, has predicted she will remain in the job until at least 2020 and

Russian military could force US out of Syria, army command says

Russian military could force US out of Syria, army command says

Newsweek :The head of Special Forces said Friday that Russia had established a more credible foothold than the U.S. in Syria, and that Moscow could use this influence to