Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo's ashes buried at sea

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo's ashes buried at sea

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo's ashes buried at sea

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo was cremated Saturday after succumbing to cancer while in custody, even as Beijing said his wife was "free so far" but must "avoid trouble" amid worldwide pressure to let her leave China.

Hu Jia, a fellow dissident and family friend, said Liu Xia's freedom was now a top priority for Liu Xiaobo's supporters.

Prior to cremation, a simple ceremony was held with the attendance of Liu's wife Liu Xia and his friends.

The mourners bowed three times before Liu's body, and Ms. Liu and other family members bowed three times again, the account said.

He died on Thursday after suffering from liver cancer while serving an 11-year prison sentence because of his calls for peaceful democratic reforms.

"It is deplorable how the Chinese government has forced the family to cremate Liu Xiaobo, bury him at sea, and then coerced Liu's brother to make robotic statements to the media about the great care of the government and superiority of its health care system", Jared Genser, a United States lawyer who represented Liu, told AFP.

"Now, we are most concerned about Liu Xia, but there has been no information about her".

A government statement said Mozart's Requiem was played during the funeral, a work of music Mozart left unfinished on his death bed.

Mo Zhixu, another friend and activist, said: "The regime must be insane". "They can't be contacted".

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Officials released photos showing his wife, the poet Liu Xia, with her brother, and two of Liu Xiaobo's brothers in front of the body, which was covered with white petals and surrounded by flowers at a funeral home.

During the past couple of weeks, Liu Xia had been at the hospital as her husband's health deteriorated.

Rights groups and Western governments have mourned Liu Xiaobo's death and urged authorities to grant freedom of movement to his wife and the rest of his family.

Liu was the first to die in state custody since 1938.

"This is why Chinese society opposes and despises him", it said in an English-language editorial.

Authorities also released photos of a private ceremony attended by his family, including his wife, whose fate worries supporters hoping the government will cede to worldwide pressure to release her and let her leave China.

China has repeatedly attacked foreign governments for their concern about Liu and calls to allow Liu Xia to leave the country if she wishes, and foreign reporters in Shenyang have been closely monitored by plainclothes security.

Efforts are being made to secure permission from Chinese authorities for Liu Xia and her brother Liu Hui to leave, a Western diplomat said last Friday.

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