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China Nobel winner's family denied prison visit: group

Human rights lawyer Mo Shaoping speaks in his office in Beijing in 2008. Mo, whose firm represents jailed Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, said he was stopped from leaving China Tuesday amid reports Beijing wants to block people attending the Oslo prize ceremony. (AFP/File/Peter Parks)
The family of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo are being prevented from visiting him and suspect officials are blocking a statement by Liu about the award,
Wednesday, November 10, 2023
By: AFP writers
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BEIJING, November 10, 2023 (AFP) - The family of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo are being prevented from visiting him and suspect officials are blocking a statement by Liu about the award, a rights organisation said Wednesday.

Liu's relatives had earlier put in a request for a visit Wednesday with the dissident writer at his prison in northeastern China but officials have been unresponsive, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

The Hong Kong-based organisation said in a statement that Liu's brothers Liu Xiaoguang and Liu Xiaoxuan and brother-in-law Liu Tong told the group they fear visits will be blocked through the December 10 Nobel award ceremony in Oslo.

Liu, 54, was sentenced to 11 years in prison last December on subversion charges after co-authoring Charter 08, a 2008 petition calling for political reform in China, which was widely circulated online and signed by thousands.

He was awarded the Peace Prize on October 8, enraging China's rulers, who have denounced the Nobel Committee and placed Liu's wife Liu Xia under house arrest, cutting off her phone access.

Liu's relatives also said the jailed writer told his wife during their last meeting at the prison on October 10 that he planned to issue a public statement in response to the award, according to the group.

However, they have since heard nothing from Liu and suspect prison officials are blocking the statement, it quoted them saying.

AFP was not immediately able to reach any of Liu's relatives.

The rights group did not explain how it got the comments from Liu's family members, but is known for its contacts in China.

Liu Xiaoxuan also had been told by his employers not to go to Norway for the award ceremony, it said, giving no other details.

Attorney Mo Shaoping, whose firm represents Liu Xiaobo, told AFP he was stopped from leaving China on Tuesday along with activist law professor He Weifang and that others had been blocked to prevent them attending the Oslo prize ceremony.

Mo and He, who both signed Charter 08, had planned to travel to a legal conference in London, not to Norway, the attorney said.

The government has launched a clampdown on its critics in the wake of Liu's Nobel win that has seen activists and dissidents taken into custody or placed under various restrictions.

dma/sst/mtp


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