Foreign diplomats blocked by security guards at home of Liu Xiaobo’s widow
German and other embassy staff trying to find Liu Xia were stopped when they
went to her Beijing flat, source says
PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 11:16pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 12:30am
Foreign diplomats trying to locate the widow of late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo
were blocked by security guards when they went to her Beijing flat on Thursday,
a German embassy source said.
They were trying to ascertain the whereabouts of Liu Xia after her friends and
family earlier this week said she had returned to Beijing
following the death of her husband in a Shenyang hospital on July 13. Liu has
had little contact with the outside world since then, and it is unclear whether
she has been allowed to return to her home.
A source with the German embassy told the South China Morning Post on Friday
that German and other foreign diplomats tried to visit Liu’s Beijing apartment
on Thursday but were stopped by security staff. “The uncertainty over Liu Xia’s
whereabouts persists,” the source said.
Concerns have been mounting over the well-being of the 56-year-old poet and
artist – who has been under house arrest for seven years – since her husband’s
How China made Liu Xiaobo’s wife suffer too
Sources earlier told the Post that diplomats from Germany and the United
States had asked to meet officials from the Ministry of Public Security to
discuss Liu’s situation, but their request was refused.
“Right now the most important thing is to get in touch with Liu Xia, which is
very difficult,” the German embassy source said, adding that they would
continue efforts with other foreign diplomats to push for Beijing to grant her
freedom of movement.
Separately, a German foreign ministry source said on Wednesday that it would
continue to urge the Chinese government to allow Liu to leave the country. “We
are trying to get in contact with her to investigate her wish to exit China.
The federal government will continue to follow the case closely and to discuss
it on all levels,” the foreign ministry source said.
Security is always tight around Liu, and diplomats, journalists and friends
have been stopped from visiting her in the past.
After Liu Xiaobo’s death, China News Service quoted a government official as
saying that Liu was a free person but she did not want to be disturbed.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also told media earlier that “the entry
and exit of Chinese citizens will be handled in accordance with the law” when
pressed by reporters about Liu’s situation and whether she would be allowed to
UN human rights chief to press Beijing on allowing Liu Xia to leave China
As well as her husband’s death, Liu has had to cope with the loss of her
father last year and her mother in February, while enduring house arrest after
Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years’ jail for “inciting subversion of state
power” in 2009.
She was diagnosed with depression in 2014 and friends have said she reached
breaking point before Liu Xiaobo was granted medical parole in June after being
diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer.
Since his death there have been mounting international calls for the
authorities to loosen their grip on Liu Xia, but Beijing has not responded.
Activists on the mainland, meanwhile, were arrested for mourning Liu Xiaobo
after his death. The authorities hastily arranged a cremation and sea burial
for the late dissident.
After the funeral, Liu and her brother Liu Hui are believed to have been
escorted to Dali in Yunnan province, her friends said last month, citing family
Spike in online censorship as Liu Xiaobo tributes pour in
Liu Xiaobo, China’s most famous political prisoner, was jailed for his part in
writing a pro-democracy manifesto known as “Charter 08”. He was awarded the
2010 Nobel Peace Prize while in jail and was represented by an empty chair at
the ceremony in Oslo.