SHENYANG: The body of China’s late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo was cremated Saturday after a private ceremony attended by his family, as Beijing faces international pressure to let the dissident’s wife leave the country.
Liu’s remains were incinerated “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, and two of Liu Xiaobo’s brothers in front of the body, which was covered with white petals and surrounded by flowers at a funeral home.
Zhang also said “friends” were at the ceremony, but Amnesty International’s China researcher Patrick Poon told AFP that he did not recognise any of the row of non-family members in the official photo and people close to the Liu couple identified at least one “state security police officer” among them.
Chinese dissident artist critic Ai Weiwei, who lives in Berlin tweeted a photo of the funeral and called the display “disgusting” and a “violation” of the deceased.
China’s government faced a global backlash for denying the democracy advocate’s wish to be treated abroad. After his death, the United States and European Union called on Beijing to free Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010, and let her leave the country.
“As far as I know, Liu Xia is in a free condition,” Zhang said, though it was unclear whether she was released as he did not answer questions about her whereabouts.
Published in Daily Times, July 16th , 2017.