The widow of China’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has said she is ready to die in protest at being held under house arrest by Chinese authorities.
BBC reports that Liu Xia, 57, has been under house arrest since 2010, after her husband was awarded the Nobel prize. She has never been charged with any crime.
Liu Xiaobo was one of China’s foremost pro-democracy campaigners and a fierce critic of the state. He died last year while serving an 11-year jail sentence for “subversion”.
There has been growing concern for Ms Liu since her husband’s death.
The poet is said to be suffering from depression after spending years under heavy surveillance, and her friends and lawyer say they believe she is being held “incommunicado”. Journalists have been blocked from visiting her.
Advocacy groups have for years called on Beijing to free Liu Xia but the Chinese authorities insists that she is a free citizen, and that the grief induced by her husband’s death has prevented her from getting in touch.
Writing on the website ChinaChange, Mr Liao, a writer who now lives in Germany, said Ms Liu also told him: “I’ve got nothing to be afraid of. If I can’t leave, I’ll die in my home. Xiaobo is gone, and there’s nothing in the world for me now.”