France concerned for jailed China dissident's wife

11th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

France raised concerns Monday for the wife of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is herself under house arrest after her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize.

"The French authorities are concerned by the situation of Liu Xia, which they are following with the greatest attention," French foreign ministry spokeswoman Christine Fages told reporters, referring to Liu's wife.

"We reiterate France's commitment to respect for freedom of expression and the freedom of movement everywhere in the world," she said, repeating France's call for Liu himself to be freed.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy this year sought to improve diplomatic ties with China after they cooled when France criticised China's actions in Tibet and supported the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama.

During a state visit in April, Sarkozy called China a "strategic partner".

Liu Xia said via the Twitter online service that she was placed under house arrest at her Beijing home both before and after visiting her husband in prison where she informed him of his prize on Saturday.

The Norwegian Nobel committee sparked a furious reaction from Beijing after it awarded the prize on Friday to the 54-year-old writer Liu. He was jailed for 11 years in December after authoring a petition for democratic reforms.

© 2010 AFP

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