Nobel laureate's wife cut off from outside world: report

22nd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The wife of jailed Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo has been completely cut off from the outside world since being put under house arrest following last month's prize announcement, a report said Monday.

Liu Xia's telephone and Internet connections have been blocked and she has not been allowed to leave the couple's high-rise Beijing flat for almost a month, The Times said, quoting sources with knowledge of her family.

The report said she is allowed a daily phone call with her mother, but that is monitored by police.

She also cannot leave to buy food -- she must inform officers what she wants to eat for her evening meal so they can bring dishes from restaurants.

"She is not the kind of person who is able to bear this kind of pressure for anything more than a short period," a friend who asked to remain anonymous told the newspaper.

"If it goes on beyond the (Nobel Prize) awards ceremony date, then I think she could be in a very bad way."

The Chinese government reacted angrily to the Nobel prize committee's decision to award the peace prize to Liu Xiaobo, a dissident who is serving an 11-year jail sentence on subversion charges after calling for political reform.

He will not be allowed to collect the prize at next month's ceremony in Oslo and at least six countries, including Russia, have said they will not attend.

The Times reported that a few days after the prize announcement on October 8, Liu Xia was allowed to visit shops, go to her parents' house and even take walks in the park as long as she was escorted by police.

However, she was later told she would be allowed to stay in Beijing only if she agreed to stop communicating with friends and the outside world.

Her mother used to visit her but police insisted on being present, causing Liu to become angry and emotional and the visits have since been stopped, the Times said.

© 2010 AFP

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