Liu Xiabo’s widow Liu Xia makes first appearance since funeral
The widow of Chinese activist and Nobel laureate Liu Xiabo has appeared in an online video – her first appearance since her husband’s death.
Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for several years, had not been seen since the funeral.
In the short video, she said she needed more time to mourn. Friends say they have not been able to reach her.
She has been under guard since 2010, but has never been charged with a crime.
Seen in the video holding a cigarette and sitting in a living-room style area, Liu Xia tells the camera that she is recovering from her husband’s death and will “readjust” in time.
It is not clear who made the recording or where it was set, leading to speculation that it may have been made under duress.
“It is certain that she was forced by the authorities to make this video,” a friend told AFP news agency.
“How can anyone who does not even enjoy freedom express her will freely?”
Chinese officials say that Liu Xia is a free Chinese citizen and is simply grieving in private.
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But after the funeral, a lawyer who had worked for Mr Liu said Liu Xia was being held “incommunicado” and needed to be rescued.
A week before the video’s release, Amnesty International renewed its call for her freedom.
Liu Xia is said to be suffering from depression after spending years under heavy surveillance.
Her late husband, Liu Xiabo, was one of China’s foremost pro-democracy campaigners and a fierce critic of the state, seen by authorities as a dissident.
He was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2010, while imprisoned, with the Nobel committee declaring him “the foremost symbol of [a] wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.”
He married Liu Xia, a poet from a privileged background, in 1996, but their marriage was frequently interrupted by his repeated incarceration.