Free Press Journal

Dissident Liu Xiaobo cremated, China claims his wife is now free


Beijing : China’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate and prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo was cremated today after succumbing to cancer while in custody, even as Beijing said his wife was “free so far” but must “avoid trouble” amid international pressure to let her leave the country.

The 61-year-old human rights activist died due to multiple organ failure following a battle with liver cancer on Thursday.

Family members and friends of Liu bade farewell to him at a private ceremony in northeast China’s Shenyang city, an official told a media briefing in the city.

Liu’s body was cremated in accordance with the will of his family members and local customs, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Prior to the cremation, a simple ceremony was held with the attendance of Liu’s wife Liu Xia and his friends.

“The cremation of Liu’s body on Saturday accords with local customs and respects relatives’ wishes,” Zhang Qingyang, spokesperson for Shenyang’s information office, said.

Liu’s relatives, including his wife and brother Liu Xiaoguang, decided to cremate the remains and hold a simple funeral after consultation, the report said.

An official said Liu’s body had been cremated, and that plans for the ashes would be finalised later.

The Chinese government, which had long banned Liu’s work and even his name, continues to censor the story of his death, deleting social media posts mourning him and blocking online searches containing variations of his name and famed quotes. China’s media outlets, all controlled by the ruling Communist Party, mostly ignored the news on Liu.