China continues crackdown on late activist's memorials
Beijing : China on Thursday continued to crack down on public memorials for late activist and Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo as his widow Liu Xia, who was released from home detention earlier this week, was in Germany, where she would be free to publicly remember her husband ahead of his death anniversary.
Liu Xia was allowed to travel to Berlin on Tuesday by the Chinese government after she spent eight years under house arrest without being formally charged with any crime.
"Liu Xia's in good spirits, but physically weak," Liao Yiwu, a Chinese writer living in exile in Germany, tweeted, adding that the poet could visit the Gethsemane Church in Berlin on Friday to attend a ceremony to mark her husband's death anniversary.
Her husband, a university professor turned human rights campaigner, participated in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, urging democratic reforms in the country. He was jailed in 2009 for inciting subversion and died of liver cancer in 2017. His ashes were scattered at sea.
In China, the government went on with a crackdown on public memorials for the Nobel Peace Laureate. Hu Jia, an activist and a close friend of the family, who was forced to leave Beijing along with other dissidents so they could not organize a memorial for Liu, told Efe news that July 13 would be a "complicated" day in China.
China has consistently cracked down on any celebration of Liu Xiaobo's memory as he stands as a symbol of the pro-democracy struggle in the country. The government refused to free him even after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Hu, who has been kept under surveillance at a hotel in the city of Chongli, said he would have liked to travel to Dalian, the northeastern city where the activist's ashes were scattered at sea.
Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon said that Liu Xiaobo continued to be an inspiration for other dissidents in China, who idolize his ideas of human rights and democracy.