China's late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo cremated

A collection of Taiwanese newspapers on July 14, reporting on the death of China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Shenyang, Liaoning, China Jul 15, 2017, 02.17 AM (IST)

The body of China's late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo was cremated on Saturday after a ceremony attended by his wife and friends, two days after the dissident lost a battle with cancer while in custody.

Liu's body was cremated "in accordance with the will of his family members and local customs" in the northeastern city of Shenyang, said Zhang Qingyang, an official from the municipal office.

Officials released photos showing his wife, the poet Liu Xia, with her brother, Liu Xiaobo's brother and friends in front of the body surrounded by white flowers at a funeral home. 

"Since she had just lost her husband, she was in very low spirits," Zhang said.

China's government has come under international criticism over its treatment of the democracy advocate and his wife, who has been under house arrest since 2010.

Western governments have called on Beijing to release Liu Xia and let her travel abroad.

The foreign ministry lashed out at the criticisim on Friday, saying it lodged official protests with the United States, Germany, France and the United Nations human rights office.