Still no family visit for China`s Nobel winner

Last Updated: Friday, January 28, 2011 - 22:47

Beijing: The wife of China`s imprisoned
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo was able to leave house
arrest for a family meal while President Hu Jintao was
visiting the United States last week but she is still unable
to visit her husband in jail, a rights group said.

It was the first known time that Liu Xia has been able
to leave house arrest since October, shortly after her husband
was awarded the peace prize.

Liu Xia`s younger brother said she was able to eat one
meal with her elderly parents during Hu`s visit to the United
States, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human
Rights and Democracy said.

The gesture was apparently in response to US criticism
of Liu Xiaobo`s treatment.

Rights groups and some countries have objected
strongly to Liu Xia`s house arrest, in which she is cut off
from telephone and Internet communication with the outside
world. Her parents, who are in their 80s, are not allowed to
visit her.

The Chinese government has never explained why she is
being held.

Liu Xia`s younger brother, Liu Tong, also said the
family still has not been given permission to visit Liu Xiaobo
in prison, though Chinese law allows one family visit per
month, the rights group said.

China has blocked visits to Liu Xiaobo since shortly
after the author and critic was awarded the peace prize in
October for his decades of activism ranging from 1989
pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square to a 2008
demand he co-authored for deeper freedoms in China.

The Chinese government says Liu is a criminal and
sentenced him in 2009 to 11 years in prison on the vague
charge of subversion.

At a news conference last week with Hu, President
Barack Obama described freedom of speech, religion and
assembly as "core views" for Americans and said he drove that
home forcefully in his discussions with Hu.

Hu responded that human rights should be viewed in the
context of different national circumstances. But in an unusual
concession for a Chinese leader on the world stage, he
acknowledged, "A lot still needs to be done in China on human
rights."

PTI



First Published: Friday, January 28, 2011 - 22:47

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