China responsible for 'enforced disappearance' of Liu Xiaobo?s widow: Lawyer

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Aug 03, 2017, 10:38 AM IST

File photo of Liu Xia. Photograph:(AFP)

Chinese authorities are responsible for the "enforced disappearance" of Liu Xia, late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo’s widow, their lawyer has said.

Washington-based human rights attorney Jared Genser made the claim in a formal complaint submitted to the United Nations on Wednesday, AFP reported.

Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer last month. He is the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky in 1938.

His widow has not been in touch with anyone since about a day before her husband’s death, Genser said in a statement to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

Liu Xia has been "held incommunicado in an unknown location by Chinese government authorities" since July 15, the day of her husband's funeral, the lawyer's statement said.

"I demand that Chinese authorities immediately provide proof that Liu Xia is alive and allow her unhindered access to her family, friends, counsel, and the international community," Genser was quoted as saying by AFP. 

Liu Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power", Reuters reported, after he helped write a petition known as "Charter 08" calling for sweeping political reforms.

He had been in jail until he was recently moved to hospital in Shenyang. His wife has been under house arrest since 2010, although she was allowed to visit her husband in hospital.

The US, the European Union, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have called on Beijing to free Liu Xia.