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UN Rights Chief Expresses Concern for Liu Xiaobo's Widow

  • Margaret Besheer
  • VOA News

FILE - Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, posed in this undated photo released by his family on Oct. 3, 2010.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Thursday that he planned to discuss with Chinese officials the situation of the widow of dissident Liu Xiaobo, who died last week in government custody from liver cancer.

"We are now focused on his wife and trying to ensure that she has freedom of movement and that if she wants to leave China, she should be able to leave China," High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said of widow Liu Xia.

"The claim was that there was never any real restriction, but the feeling was that she was being restricted," he told a small group of reporters. "We want to use this moment to assure ourselves that she is able to leave if she wants to."

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, 61, was China's best-known human rights prisoner. He spent the past eight years in jail for his campaign for democratic political reforms and died at a hospital in Shenyang, China, on July 13. He had been moved there from his prison cell in the final stage of his illness.

His wife, Liu Xia, is a photographer, painter and poet. She was with her husband at the hospital in his final weeks, but has been under effective house arrest since Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

The Nobel committee's choice of Liu Xiaobo angered Beijing, which severed ties with Oslo. The two nations announced in December that they were normalizing relations after the six-year rift.

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