Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, has reportedly been taken away from Beijing “to travel,” ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress this Wednesday.
Liu has been under house arrest for years since her husband was jailed in 2008 after co-writing the Charter 08 manifesto, which called for democratic reforms. He died in July while under surveillance at a hospital in Shenyang.
On Monday, the Hong Kong-based NGO Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy cited an unnamed family member as saying that Liu Xia was in fine health, but she had been “forced to travel” away from the capital.
The centre said that family members were nervous about their call, and had repeatedly asked that they do not contact them again in order to avoid trouble.
Sources cited by Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK also said Liu Xia was undergoing regular body checks at a Beijing hospital, though she was taken away from the city last weekend. The sources said it was thought she will only be able to return after the National Congress.
The broadcaster also reported that some independent journalists in Beijing were asked to leave the city during the key meeting, and that dissidents in Guangzhou were asked not to accept interviews.
Key Zhao date
Meanwhile, Tuesday also marks the birthday of former Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang, who died in January 2005. The Information Center said calls to the mobile and home numbers of Zhao’s family members were unsuccessful.
Zhao was stripped of power after the 1989 democratic movement in China for being sympathetic to student protesters. He remained under house arrest during the last 15 years of his life.