China under pressure to free widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo

14 July, Beeijing

China faced international calls today to free the poet Liu Xia, widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. The US and the European Union urged President Xi Jinping’s government to let Xia leave the country.

She has been under house arrest since 2010. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked the Chinese government to release Liu Xia from house arrest and allow her to depart China, according to her wishes.

The EU urged Beijing to let Liu Xia and Liu’s family to bury him at a place and in a manner of their choosing, and to allow them to grieve in peace.

Liu Xiaobo, a prominent activist who had been serving an 11-year prison term for “subversion”, died yesterday after being denied permission to leave the country for treatment for late-stage liver cancer.

According to Jared Genser, a US lawyer who represented Liu, all contact with Liu Xia had been cut off in the past 48 hours.

Meanwhile, China’s Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang rejected the criticism of China’s handling of Liu’s death, adding that doctors made all-out efforts to treat him.

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