Liu Xia can't accept husband's death

Top News | Cindy Wan 6 May 2019

Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, says she has not been able to accept his death.

"I don't want to face that. Till now, I still don't want to acknowledge that Xiaobo is gone. All the farewell rituals that were forced on me, I thought they were acts," she said during her photo exhibition in Frankfurt at the weekend.

Her husband passed away in July 2017 and she was released and allowed to leave Beijing for Germany a year later.

The widow told Perry Link, Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University, and Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei at Galerie Peter Sillem that she still cannot move on from the traumatic memory of her husband's death.

"He was everything for me I don't even know how I am living my life every day. If I am alone, I will just lie down," she said.

She said she has made new friends in Germany, who ask her to go shopping or for coffee.

"They don't want me to be alone. I just want to lie down when I am alone," she said.

In response, Link said Liu Xia is a joyous person who likes to laugh, and asked how she could overcome the sad experience of her husband's death and forge a new life in Germany.

The widow said: "I don't know. Taking medicine every day. I am actually escaping and escaping, daring not to face it."

Liu Xia has never been accused of any crimes, but she was held under unofficial house arrest in Beijing for eight years after her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Her flat was guarded by plainclothes officers day and night until she was allowed to leave to Germany in July last year.

An artist and a poet herself, Liu Xia had been creating artwork by writing, painting and photographing at home during her days in custody. Some of her artwork was exhibited abroad during that time.

Now that she is free in Germany, she can finally exhibit her photos on her own terms.

The themes of her artwork are not starkly political, as many of the photos were taken with an old camera to capture the impression of life in China between the 1990s and 2000s.

Liu Xiaobo had been active in calling for democracy and human rights in China since the protest and crackdown at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

While 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the June 4 incident, it is unclear whether Liu Xia will collect the Nobel Prize and prize money for her husband this year.

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