01/07/2011, 00.00
CHINA – HONG KONG

Liu Xiaobo unaware of Szeto Wah’s death

The iconic figure of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, who died on 2 January, had been invited to the Nobel Peace Prize presentation ceremony for the Chinese dissident. At present, no one can communicate with Liu and his family. His wife is unlawfully under house arrest.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo does not know that Szeto Wah, one of Hong Kong’s iconic pro-democracy figures, is dead. He had invited the late leader of the territory’s’ Democratic Party, who also organised the great vigils in remembrance of Tiananmen martyrs, to attend his Nobel Peace Prize presentation ceremony in Oslo on 10n December.

Since Szeto’s death on 2 January, various human rights activists have tried to communicate the sad news to Xia Liu, wife of the co-author of Charter 08, which landed him 11 years in prison. However, she has been under house arrest in violation of Chinese law and no one has been able to contact her directly.

Liu’s brother, Xiaoguang, said he would relay the news when they met next time. A Public Security Bureau official in Dalian told him a visit could be arranged for the middle of the month. Liu is currently serving his sentence at Jinzhou prison, Liaoning province.

Szeto Wah was an outspoken campaigner for mainland activists. Wang Dan and Wuer Kaixi, two student leaders in the 1989 democracy movement now in exile in Taiwan, have expressed a desire to attend Szeto's funeral, which is scheduled for 29 January at Hong Kong’s St Andrew's Church.

It is unclear whether the Hong Kong government will allow their entry, but about ten Civic Party members marched to the government headquarters yesterday, urging the administration to let them come.

For the funeral ceremony, about 25 to 30 seats have been reserved for local government officials, but none for the central government's liaison office. Organisers have said however that they would consider including its officials if the office asked to attend.

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