Hours after her reappearance in a video asking the public to give her time to grieve, another purported clip has emerged of poet Liu Xia, the widow of the late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.

The Chinese government faced an international backlash following its treatment of dissident writer Liu Xiaobo when he died of liver cancer in a hospital under police custody last month. His widow has been held incommunicado by government authorities since the day of her husband’s funeral, according to her US-based lawyer.

A figure resembling Liu Xia appears in a video. Photo: Screenshot.

The US, the EU, and the UN high commissioner for human rights have called upon the Chinese authorities to free Liu Xia, who has remained under house arrest since her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Chinese authorities say she is free, but does not want to be disturbed.

Liu’s last known location was at her husband’s funeral and burial in July, according to photos released by the authorities. Her whereabouts are currently unknown, but she reappeared in a video clip on Friday, in which she said she was recovering in a province outside of Beijing. She asked viewers to give her time to mourn.

Mysterious figure

Another clip emerged later that day, showing a person dressed similarly to Liu Xia, wearing a black shirt, black trousers, and sunglasses. The figure is standing in a doorway, but their features cannot be seen clearly due to the bright background.

In stark contrast to Liu Xia’s hoarse voice and subdued manner in the first video, the figure is talking to someone behind the camera in a high-pitched voice and appears excited about upcoming plans. The figure said that they were going to the movies and listed dishes they are planning to eat, such as stewed chicken with mushrooms, crayfish, and eel.

A man then interrupted, saying she was making everyone drool, then the figure resembling Liu says: “someone thinks I talk too much,” as female laughter is heard off-camera. Then, a woman says: “[you’re] annoying” teasingly. There is a pause, during which the man can be heard whispering: “next sentence,” and the figure in the doorway says: “we’ll get together again soon.”


The Twitter user who posted the video tweeted that it originated from a friend’s public post on the WeChat messaging platform, but declined to comment on the provenance of the video when contacted by HKFP. The user, tx6r8, joined Twitter this month, and posts tweets in support of controversial tycoon Guo Wengui.

The user posted the video on Twitter saying: “A video of Liu Xia was circulating on WeChat Moments today, looks like she is very happy!”

The previous video of Liu Xia was posted on a YouTube account which posts material critical of Guo and his claims against the Chinese government. It was also posted on a Twitter account critical of Guo.

Liu Xiaobo was known for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. He was jailed in 2008 after co-writing a petition calling for democratic reforms, and sentenced to 11 years in prison for “subversion” a year later.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.