Wife: China's jailed Nobel winner gets better food

Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo, faces increased government restrictions as she says husband's conditions in prison have slightly improved.

October 12, 2010 12:38
1 minute read.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo

311_Liu Xiaobo Nobel Prize. (photo credit: Associated Press)

BEIJING — China accused foreign governments Tuesday of interfering in its political system by praising the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to an imprisoned dissident, while his wife said prison authorities had started giving him better food.

Democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia, said in a rare phone interview with The Associated Press that she herself faces restrictions on whom she can meet and must be accompanied by police escort whenever she leaves her home.

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She said her husband's brother told her that the prison started providing Liu Xiaobo with better food on Monday, serving him individually prepared food accompanied by rice rather than a portion of food cooked in a large pot for many prisoners, which is usually of poor quality. There was no immediate indication that any other prison conditions faced by Liu had improved, however.

In naming him, the Norwegian-based Nobel committee honored Liu's more than two decades of advocacy of human rights and peaceful democratic change — from demonstrations for democracy at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 to a manifesto for political reform that he co-authored in 2008 and which led to his latest prison term.

Beijing reacted angrily to Friday's announcement awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu, calling him a criminal and warning Norway's government that relations would suffer, even though the Nobel committee is an independent organization.

That anger continued Tuesday at a regular Foreign Ministry news conference where spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said politicians in some countries were using the peace prize to attack China.

"This is not only disrespect for China's judicial system, but also puts a big question mark on their true intentions," he said.

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