02/20/2014, 00.00
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Beijing, Liu Xia hospitalized: friends say authorities have destroyed her health

The wife of jailed Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, had a heart attack and suffers from depression. After trying in vain to leave China to be hospitalized abroad, she was rejected treatment by several hospitals in Beijing . Her current whereabouts is and actual health condition unclear.

Beijing ( AsiaNews) - Liu Xia, wife of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo, has been hospitalized for heart problems, suspected depression and "other symptoms" that "have been aggravated during the period of illegal detention" that she has been subjected to now for almost four years. This was confirmed this morning by lawyer Mo Shaoping, a human rights activist and close friend of the couple.

The Chinese authorities have prevented a hospitalization abroad and, at first, banned hospitals in Beijing from admitting her. After a further deterioration in her condition, on February 18 she was admitted to a hospital in the capital. But her whereabouts and doctors diagnosis of her condition are unknown.

Since October 2010 - when Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize for having drafted the "Charter 08 ", a document calling for democracy and respect for human rights in China - Liu Xia has been living under tight control  followed by plain clothes police even when she goes to visit her parents and her husband in jail. Currently all contact with anyone outside of her immediate family has been cut off.

According to Mo, "Liu Xia's family proposed to take her abroad or to Hong Kong for a treatment, but the police refused to approve the plan". In early February 2014, she was admitted to a facility in Beijing, but after less than a day was taken home, where she lives under close police surveillance. Ye Du , writer and friend of the woman, spoke to her recently on the phone : "She said she had heart problems. In January she had a medical examination, and was told that her heart does not pump enough blood".

Ye argues that the women's illegal detention is the cause of her woes: "The environment that she's been placed in, having been put under house arrest for so many years, is the main reason (for her worsening health), and they thought that going overseas was the only way they could fully guarantee that she will have good treatment".  To express solidarity with Liu Xia , a group of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and mainland China have shaved their heads on St. Valentines Day to demand his unconditional release.


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