Security tightens outside wife's home turned prison

The Nobel ceremony was greeted yesterday in China with a clampdown on dissidents and a blackout of international broadcasts as the government condemned the award as a conspiracy against the country.

Police stepped up patrols at sensitive areas in the capital and security was heavy outside Liu Xiaobo's home, where his wife Liu Xia is said to be under house arrest.

She was first detained in the flat on 8 October when the award was announced, and she and Mr Liu's brothers have been prevented from leaving the country. There was no sign of life at the windows of the flat. Several dozen journalists were herded by police to a cordoned-off area outside the home last night. Five police cars were stationed outside.

For weeks, Liu has been prevented from leaving, receiving visitors or communicating with the outside world, but security was visibly tighter yesterday. Her phone and internet connections have been cut off. Both CNN and BBC TV channels went black at 8 pm local time for nearly an hour, when the Oslo ceremony took place.

China reiterated its angry response to the decision to award the peace prize to Mr Liu, condemning the award as an "obscenity". Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: "We are firmly against attempts by any country or individual to use the Nobel Peace Prize to interfere in China's internal affairs and infringe on China's judicial sovereignty."

Mr Liu, the first Chinese winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, dedicated the award to the "lost souls" of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. There was increased security around the area of the square where bloodshed ended the democratic dreams of many young Chinese.

Since then, China has become an economic superpower and the Communist Party has tightened its grip on power and attempts to keep a lid on the story have been partially successful. "Everything is different now since the revolt of 1989," said businesswoman Ma Junpeng. "People's ideas have changed. China has changed. People like Liu are irrelevant."

Police have in recent weeks clamped down on China's dissident community, with many key figures and allies of Mr Liu under house arrest or close surveillance, or warned to stay away from the city. Before being escorted to the southwestern province of Yunnan, Zhang Xianliang, the mother of a high school student killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, told The Associated Press she had been shadowed by four plainclothes agents who demanded she leave Beijing. "They have become crazy. This is unprecedented. I have never been so threatened in the past 20 years."

Artist Ai Weiwei, legal scholar He Weifang, China's famous criminal lawyer Mo Shaoping, and 80-year old economist Mao Yushi, were all banned from travelling abroad.

Gao Mingxuan, a Chinese criminal- law expert, told the state-run Xinhua news agency that Mr Liu's activities were aimed at inciting people to "subvert the legitimate state power of the people's democratic dictatorship that is under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and overthrow the socialist system.

"If Chinese people do act according to his desire, the country will surely suffer from wars and conflicts, destroying the present peace which China has gained with great efforts."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting startup disruptin...

Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

£25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Magazine Designer

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This London based publishing co...

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Negotiator - OTE £30,000+

£13500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Previous experience is benefici...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash