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Liu Xia's whereabouts unknown, say friends

2017-07-14 HKT 17:37
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Altis Wong reports
Friends of Liu Xiaobo said on Friday that they are still unable to contact Liu Xia – the Nobel laureate’s wife – and that her freedom is now a top priority.

A dissident and family friend, Hu Jia, said her situation is of utmost concern as she is the one who's suffering the most at this moment.

He said Liu Xiaobo's supporters should dedicate their efforts to freeing her and Liu Xiaobo's younger brother, Liu Hui, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2013 for fraud.

Liu's body is believed to have been brought to a funeral parlour in Shenyang, where security is tight.

Shanghai-based writer Wen Kejian, another friend of the Liu Xiaobo family, said he would "pay very close attention" to her freedom.

Germany, France, Britain and the US have called on Beijing to allow her to travel and leave China – if that's what she wants. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said her freedom of movement should be guaranteed.

In Beijing, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said the country has lodged protest with all three of them over interfering in internal affairs of China.

Meanwhile, more than 150 friends and supporters, including some of China's most prominent dissidents, rights lawyers and intellectuals, have signed an open letter announcing plans for an "online memorial" for Liu Xiaobo.

A writer and friend of Liu Xiaobo, Ye Du, said he hopes people would be able to commemorate him, despite harsh government restrictions.

The censors have scrubbed the social media of any reference to the only Nobel Peace Prize winner and even banned people from posting virtual candles on Weibo.