A friend of late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has said that he was taken away by police “to travel” on Wednesday. Activists say that authorities are trying to prevent friends from mourning Liu on the seventh day of his passing – the traditional day of mourning for Chinese people.

Liu was jailed in 2008 after co-writing the Charter 08 manifesto calling for democratic reforms. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “subversion” a year later.

Liu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, was pronounced dead last Thursday while under heavy surveillance at a hospital in Shenyang, China, after being jailed for years.

Photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

Liu’s body was cremated and buried at sea near the northeast city of Dalian last Saturday.

His friends and supporters have urged the public to mourn by the seaside, as activists launched global events to commemorate his death.

Wu Yangwei, a writer who uses the pen name Ye Du and a friend of Liu, tweeted at 1:03pm on Wednesday: “The police is taking me out to travel, [my] phone will be turned off for a day.”

Wu said police officers brought two cartons of cigarettes and a watermelon to his home at noon. He said the officers’ superiors ordered that he be watched and not allowed to go near rivers or the ocean on Wednesday, according to Commercial Radio.

Dissident Hu Jia, also a friend of Liu, said he has been under large-scale surveillance since last Friday.

Wu and Hu were active on social media spreading news about Liu’s situation in his last days.

Activists Jiang Jianjun and Wang Chenggang traveled to a beach in Dalian to mourn Liu on Monday. Jiang was subsequently detained by Chinese police.

The Freedom for Liu Xiaobo Action Group, a group formed by Liu’s friends and supporters, also said Wunan activist Ou Biaofeng was “taken away for travelling.”

Liu’s widow Liu Xia, who was under house arrest for years, remains unreachable after his death.

The Hong Kong-based NGO Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy cited an unnamed family member as saying that Liu Xia and her younger brother Liu Hui were brought to “travel” in the southwestern province of Yunnan, and were unable to call their relatives in Beijing.

The family member said their trip was related to the mourning tradition and that Liu Xia would be sent back to Beijing as early as Thursday, suggesting that the authorities did not want Liu Xia to mourn publicly.

The Center also cited an unnamed family member of Liu Xiaobo as saying that the family was under heavy surveillance by national security agents. The family member said they could not go near the sea but plan to hold a commemoration ceremony at home.

The Freedom for Liu Xiaobo Action Group urged the public to mourn Liu at 8pm on Wednesday.

They asked people to remember Liu using an empty chair – which became a symbol for Liu during his absence at the 2010 Nobel prize ceremony. They suggested that supporters hold a moment of silence, bow facing the chair three times to pay respect, and raise three fingers to symbolise resistance, freedom and hope.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China will also hold a mourning event at 8pm at Tamar Park in Admiralty.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.