Family Unaware of Liu Release

No word from authorities on the possible release of China's jailed Nobel prize winner.
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Liu Xiaobo, in an undated photo.
Liu Xiaobo, in an undated photo.

The family of jailed Chinese dissident and 2010 Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo says they have received no new information from authorities following reports in the Hong Kong media that Liu would soon be released.

"No, I haven't," Liu's brother Liu Xiaoxuan said in an interview when asked if the family had been informed that the veteran pro-democracy campaigner would be released.

He said he had not heard of a report Wednesday in the Chinese-language Hong Kong Daily News that made the claim.

The paper reported that the Chinese authorities were preparing to release Liu at the end of the year, after serving just over a year of his 11-year prison term for subversion.

Liu's behavior while in prison had been "exemplary," and Chinese leaders were hoping to show their liberal-mindedness ahead of the 18th Party Congress next year, when the ruling Communist Party will select a new generation of leaders, the report said.

Asked about his brother's condition on a rare family visit to his prison in northeastern China last month, Liu Xiaoxuan declined to comment further.

"I can't really talk any more," he said. "Thank you."

Family visit

Last month, authorities allowed Liu a family visit, one year after the Nobel Peace Prize committee angered Beijing by granting him the award after he was jailed for co-authoring a controversial political reform document that championed an open political system and respect for human rights.

Liu’s brothers met with him last month at his prison in Jinzhou, in northeastern Liaoning province, to convey the news of their father's death.

It was the first time the brothers had seen each other since shortly after Liu was awarded the Nobel Prize on Oct. 8, 2010.

Liu, 55, was sentenced in December 2009 to prison for his role in authoring Charter 08 which called for sweeping changes in China's government.

The brothers said afterwards that Liu Xiaobo looked well and was happy to see them, but said they had been warned against revealing any details of the visit.

The family may also be reluctant to talk so as to avoid scuppering talks over a meeting between Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, by the end of this month.

Liu Xia last saw her husband a year ago, when she visited him to inform him that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize. She is believed to have been held under house arrest at her home in Beijing since then and has had virtually no contact with the outside world.

Reported by Grace Kei Lai-see for RFA's Cantonese service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.





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