Jailed Chinese Nobel winner asks his wife to receive prize

Liu, 54, has asked his wife to receive his Peace Prize in Norway, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy quoted Liu Xia as saying.

During her brief meeting with her husband on Sunday in prison in Jinzhou, he had asked Liu Xia to receive the prize on his behalf. The prize was due to be handed over in Oslo in December this year.

Liu was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless campaign to restore democracy and human rights in China. He was imprisoned for 11 years last year for initiating the Charter 08 democracy campaign on the ground that it amounted to "inciting subversion of state power".

Liu Xia said the prison had given her husband a physical examination and had told him he had a severe gastric ulcer, the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post quoted the rights group as saying.

It was still to be confirmed whether he had been infected with hepatitis B, which the centre said would entitle him to release on medical parole.

"The prison did not elaborate, but I guess they would let my husband undergo a further check-up to see whether he is a hepatitis virus carrier," Liu Xia was quoted as saying. She said she had taken books and some of Liu's favourite food, when she went to visit him to the prison.

He told her that he shared a cell with five other inmates, she said. It is to be seen whether China which denounced the prize to Liu asserting that a coveted Prize was given a criminal would permit his wife to travel to Oslo to receive it. She was the centre of attraction for the world media and diplomats ever since the prize was announced.

Barring some initial reactions, she was kept away from the media but later taken to Jinzhou prison to meet her husband to break the news for him.

Since then she remained incommunicado. Yesterday a group of about 10 European diplomats were prevented from visiting her in Beijing when they tried to meet her to deliver a letter of congratulations from Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the  European Commission.

Diplomats from embassies of Switzerland, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium, Italy and Australia went to see her along with EU representative.

Ever since the Nobel Prize was announced for Liu, calls for his release gathered momentum with appeals coming from US President Barrack Obama and several other world leaders, including Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama.

Venezuelan, President Hugo Chavez however expressed solidarity with Beijing over the awarding of the prize.

"Our greetings and solidarity go to the government of the People's Republic of China.
Viva China! And its sovereignty, its independence and its greatness," he was quoted as saying in a radio address denouncing his political rivals for praising Liu.

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