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Laureate wants wife to take award
Liu Xiaobo's wife is under house arrest, but says she wants to travel to Norway to collect Nobel prize for her husband.
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2010 21:04 GMT
Liu Xia has police stationed outside her Beijing house and visitors are being screened [AFP]

The wife of Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese activist who won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, has expressed her desire to travel to Norway to collect the award on behalf of her jailed husband.

Liu Xia said in a phone interview on Tuesday that her husband had been receiving better quality food since the Oslo-based Nobel committee announced the award on Friday.

"He said he hoped I could receive the award on his behalf," she told The Associated Press news agency. But currently under house arrest, Liu Xia said her chances of being able to go seemed bleak at the moment.

"At this point, I can't even get out of my own house door, let alone the gates of the country,'' she said.


The wife of Liu Xiaobo, has been put under house arrest

Liu Xia was using a cellphone given to her by a family member, after the police had disabled her own one.

Like her husband, she remained hopeful that political change is on the horizon for her country.

"I believe they won't go on like this forever and that there will be positive change,'' she said.

Many of the couples' friends have also been placed under house arrest.

"Plain clothed police stand guard outside and all cars entering the area are checked," Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley reported.

"Liu Xia was able to visit her husband in prison after the award but has since been unable to move freely," the correspondent said.

Liu was awarded the prize after spending years advocating peaceful, gradual political change rather than confrontation with the government, unlike others in China's highly fractured and persecuted dissident community.

Beijing called Friday's award to Liu an "obscenity".

International reactions

Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign affairs chief, appealed to China on Tuesday to free his wife from house arrest.

"We continue to call for the release of Mr Liu and we also appeal to the Chinese authorities to lift the house arrest imposed on his wife," a spokeswoman for Ashton said.

The US also expressed concern through the US embassy in Beijing.

"We continue to follow closely Liu Xia's situation. Her rights should be respected, and she should be allowed to move freely without harassment," the US embassy said in a statement.

The Chinese government, however, views the award as an attack on the country's political system.

It accused other countries of using the award to attack the country and warned that it won't change the nation's political course.

"If some people try to change China's political system in this way, and try to stop the Chinese people from moving forward, that is obviously making a mistake,'' Ma Zhaoxu, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, said.

"This is not only disrespect for China's judicial system, but also puts a big question mark on their true intentions.''

Beijing singled out Norway for particular criticism, saying that bilateral relations would suffer because of what it considers to be its backing of the award. The Nobel committee, however, acts independently of the government.

Source:
Agencies
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