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Liu Xiaobo Passes Away and Liu Xia Goes Missing

On 13 July, the activist and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo passed away at the age of sixty-one in the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang. Much to the anger of his friends and supporters, his ashes were buried at sea, off the coast of Dalian. Liu had been imprisoned since 2009 for ‘inciting state subversion’, but in June was paroled to receive treatment for advanced liver cancer. Requests from Liu and his family to receive medical treatment outside of China were denied. After the funeral, Liu’s wife—the artist Liu Xia went missing for over a month, only appearing in a Youtube video to say she was mourning her husband’s death outside of Beijing. The disappearance of Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010, sparked further international condemnation of the Chinese government. Chinese authorities denied detaining Liu Xia, claiming that she was a ‘free citizen’, and suggesting that she had not communicated with family or friends due to her grief. In early September, Liu Xia was reported to have returned to her Beijing home. However, her supporters remained concerned about her mental health, as she was reportedly suffering from depression induced by years of captivity, surveillance, and the death of her husband. NL

(Sources: BBC; South China Morning Post 1; South China Morning Post 2; The Guardian; The Washington Post)

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