Furious China blocks visit with Nobel winner’s wife

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“We were told that we could only go in if we called somebody from the inside and if they came out to meet us. But of course, we can’t call Liu Xia, because it’s impossible to get through to her phone,” Mr. Sharpe told reporters at the entrance to the compound.

Mr. Sharpe read out a message from Mr. Barroso saying the prize was “a strong message of support to all those around the world who sometimes with great personal sacrifice are struggling for freedom and human rights.”

The Nobel Committee has sent the official prize documents, including an invitiation to the Dec. 10 ceremony, to the Chinese Embassy in Oslo, asking Chinese authorities to hand them over to Mr. Liu, said committee Secretary Geir Lundestad.

The Beijing Public Security Bureau and the Foreign Mministry had no immediate comment on why authorities were apparently restricting Mrs. Liu’s movements since she has not been charged with anything. But “soft detention” is a common tactic used by the Chinese government to intimidate and muffle activists and critics.

In recent days, Beijing also has stepped up its harassment of other activists, detaining several when they tried to organize a dinner to celebrate Mr. Liu’s Nobel.

Zhang Jiannan, who runs an Internet forum on political matters, told the Associated Press that he and other activists had gone out Friday to celebrate Mr. Liu’s victory. He was placed under house arrest Saturday and warned by police not to participate in political activities.

“Our (bulletin board system) had been warmly discussing Liu Xiaobo winning the award and passing the news to more people. I think police feel the pressure. They want to crack down on this circle of dissidents, and I and my site became a good target to set an example for others,” he said, adding that he has agreed to shut down his website because he is fearful of police retaliation against his family.

On Monday, lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was the latest to be detained by police, according to his assistant, who did not want to be identified. Mr. Pu had sent out a message via Twitter on Sunday that said security officials had showed up telling him not to accept interviews with foreign media.

In Australia, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said he would raise to Chinese authorities Canberra’s objections to the 11-year prison sentence imposed on Mr. Liu and to restrictions placed on the movements of the dissident’s wife.

Associated Press writers Gillian Wong, Ken Teh and Isolda Morillo and researcher Xi Yue in Beijing; AP writer Bjoern H. Amland in Oslo; and AP writer Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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