BEIJING – Friends of recently-deceased Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo fear authorities may force his wife to disappear to prevent her from speaking about what happened to her husband.
Liu Xiaobo died on Thursday of terminal liver cancer that was diagnosed less than two months ago.
On Saturday, authorities released photos from his funeral showing a weak-looking Liu Xia for the first time since her husband’s demise, under a tight vigil of security forces that oversaw the proceedings of the late dissident’s final farewell.
Activist Hu Jia, a friend of the Nobel winner who has been trying to contact Liu Xia in vain, told EFE on Sunday they were worried authorities may take her to an unknown place on the grounds that she needs rest.
Like him, other friends of the couple continue to make attempts – unsuccessfully – to get in touch with Liu, further raising fears about the widow’s delicate health.
Liu has already been suffering from depression and other illnesses owing to a house arrest she has been under for the past seven years, although she has not been formally charged with any crime.
Her own family cannot contact her, neither her nor (her brother) Liu Hui, writer and family friend Zhao Hui told EFE.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Shenyang authorities told the media that Liu Xia “is free,” but currently in great sorrow over her husband’s death, and urged respect for her right to not be “disturbed.”
However, the couple’s close circle has refuted the official narrative and cast doubts over her supposed freedom, especially since they were not permitted to attend the Nobel awardee’s funeral.
His body was later cremated and the ashes scattered into the sea.
While authorities claimed the ceremony was held with family and close friends of Liu in attendance, none of those contacted by EFE could recognize the people in the released photos; some foreign reporters identified some as members of security forces.
Friends also believe the communist regime forced the family to scatter Liu’s cremated remains at sea to discard the possibility of a grave where people could recall his struggle for democracy and freedom.