Wife visits imprisoned Nobel peace laureate

An imprisoned Chinese dissident who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was allowed to meet with his wife and told her in tears that he was dedicating the award to victims of a 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, his wife and a close friend said.

Liu Xia, the wife of democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo, said in a Twitter message that his jailers informed him a day earlier of his prize.

“Brothers, I have returned,” Ms Liu wrote. “Seen Xiaobo, the prison told him the news about his award on the night of the ninth.”

The Twitter message was verified by a close friend and dissident Wang Jinbo, who wrote in another Twitter message that Ms Liu told him she was unable to meet the media or friends because of tight security.

Half a dozen men blocked the entrance to Ms Liu’s apartment in Beijing, ordering reporters out of the compound.

A US group that serves as Mr Liu’s international counsel, Freedom Now, deplored Ms Liu’s detention in her own home.

In naming him on Friday, the Norwegian-based Nobel committee honoured Mr Liu’s more than two decades of advocacy of human rights and peaceful democratic change - from demonstrations for democracy at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 to a manifesto for political reform that he co-authored in 2008 and which led to his latest jail term.

Mr Wang said Mr Liu told his wife during the visit that the prize “goes first” to those who died in the June 4, 1989, military crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen. “Xiaobo was in tears,” he wrote.

Ms Liu sought to meet with her husband after Friday’s Nobel announcement, but authorities refused to let her visit until yesterday.

The delay underscored the difficult predicament the Chinese government faces over the award to a dissident it brands a criminal.

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