What fate awaits wife of late Chinese dissident?

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The ashes of China's late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo were scattered in the sea Saturday after a controversial funeral, as his friends anxious about the fate of the democracy advocate's widow. A video about Liu's hospital treatment released on the website of the city's judicial bureau Friday appeared aimed at the same objective. One notable exception is a newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party which on Saturday said the West was "deifying" Liu, a man the paper described as a criminal who was "paranoid, naive and arrogant". A survey soon after he was awarded the Nobel found 85% of college students hadn't heard of him or Charter 08, the pro-democracy manifesto he co-wrote that led to his 11-year sentence in 2009.

Officials "fear that if someone who is as emblematic a symbol as Liu Xiaobo had a burial ground, it would become a place where his supporters would gather on his memorial day, the day he received the Nobel or any other such occasions to express their desire to chase after freedom", activist and family friend Ye Du said.

Liu's relatives, including his wife and brother Liu Xiaoguang, made a decision to cremate the remains and hold a simple funeral after consultation, the report said. "Two-thirds of the earth's surface is covered by the sea and I can foresee that in the future, activists and ordinary people will go to the sea and memorialize Liu Xiaobo".

In Shenyang, a spokesman for the city's information office said at the briefing that authorities were looking out for Liu Xia's interests and insisted that she is free.

The late dissident's lawyer Jared Genser said Liu Xia had been held "incommunicado" since her husband's death, BBC reported.

Chinese dissident artist critic Ai Weiwei, who lives in Berlin tweeted a photo of the funeral and called the display "disgusting" and a "violation" of the deceased. "The authorities are very anxious that a grave would be the focal point of the public's actions to memorialize him, which could easily turn into protests".

On Saturday, thousands of mourners in Hong Kong took part in a candle-lit vigil in remembrance of Liu. Chinese authorities said he was too ill to travel. To explain her absence at the conference, Liu Xiaoguang said that Liu Xia was not in good health.

Liu Xiaobo's widow, Liu Xia, was not at the presser. People who know the Lius, however, say her recent silence is cause for alarm and could indicate that she continues to be under house arrest and intense surveillance.

Liu Xiaoguang said Liu Xia was in "weak condition" and experiencing such "great sorrow" and that she may need hospital treatment.

There is little mention of Liu in China's heavily censored state media and social networking platforms. "Deification of Liu by the West will be eventually overshadowed by China's denial of him".



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