Monday, October 11, 2010

Wife Detained After Visiting Nobel Winner

The wife of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, was allowed to meet with her husband on Sunday at the prison in northeastern China where he is serving an 11-year sentence, but she was then escorted back to Beijing and placed under house arrest, a human rights group said.

Prison officials had informed Mr. Liu that he won the award — a decision vehemently condemned by the Chinese government — the day before. In their hourlong visit, Mr. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, said her husband had told her, “This is for the lost souls of June 4th,” and then was moved to tears.

Hundreds died June 4, 1989, in Beijing when Chinese troops and tanks crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Mr. Liu told his wife the award commemorates the nonviolent spirit in which those who died fought for peace, freedom and democracy, the group, Human Rights in China, said in a statement.

In Beijing, Ms. Liu’s telephone and Internet communication has been cut off and state security officers are not allowing her to contact friends or the media, the statement said. Nor can she leave her house except in a police car, according to the group. Her brother’s phone has also been “interfered with,” the statement said.

Mr. Liu, who was active in the 1989 movement, spent the next two decades pressing for political reform in China. A 54-year-old former literature professor, he was one of the main authors of Charter ’08, a pro-democracy manifesto that calls for expanded liberties and the end to single-party rule in China.

Roughly 10,000 people signed the document before the government blocked its circulation on the Internet. Based on his pro-democracy writings, Mr. Liu was convicted last December of “inciting subversion of the state.”

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