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19 August 2017

Liu Xiaobo’s widow Liu Xia makes first appearance since funeral

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Youtube

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Liu Xia appeared in the video, but it is not clear if it was filmed under duress

The widow of Chinese activist and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has appeared in an online video – her first appearance since her husband’s death.

Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for several years, had not been seen since the funeral.

In the short video, she said she needed more time to mourn. Friends say they have not been able to reach her.

She has been under guard since 2010, but has never been charged with a crime.

Seen in the video holding a cigarette and sitting in a living-room style area, Liu Xia tells the camera that she is recovering from her husband’s death and will “readjust” in time.

It is not clear who made the recording or where it was set, leading to speculation that it may have been made under duress.

Hu Jia, a fellow activist in Beijing, believes Liu Xia was forced to record the video.

He told BBC Chinese: “Liu Xia smokes endlessly when she’s stressed and you can see in the video that she kept holding a cigarette.

“You can sense her helplessness, her frustration that the authorities have her life firmly gripped in their hands.”

Chinese officials say that Liu Xia is a free Chinese citizen and is simply grieving in private.

But after the funeral, a lawyer who had worked for Mr Liu said Liu Xia was being held “incommunicado” and needed to be rescued.

A week before the video’s release, Amnesty International renewed its call for her freedom.

Liu Xia is said to be suffering from depression after spending years under heavy surveillance.

Her late husband was one of China’s foremost pro-democracy campaigners and a fierce critic of the state, seen by authorities as a dissident.

He was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2010, while imprisoned, with the Nobel committee declaring him “the foremost symbol of [a] wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.”

He married Liu Xia, a poet from a privileged background, in 1996, but their marriage was frequently interrupted by his repeated incarceration.

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