Deceased Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo's ashes were scattered at sea on Saturday, Liu's brother said, in a move described by a family friend as an effort to erase any memory of him. A video about Liu's hospital treatment released on the website of Shenyang's judicial bureau Friday appeared aimed at the same objective.
Liu was instrumental in drafting of a reform manifesto that spoke of direct elections in China and an end to the single-party rule in the country. "It's a blasphemy of the peace prize". He had been serving an 11-year sentence for sedition after being arrested in 2009 for promoting a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08.
Officials "fear that if someone who is as emblematic a symbol as Liu Xiaobo had a burial ground, it would become a place where his supporters would gather on his memorial day, the day he received the Nobel or any other such occasions to express their desire to chase after freedom", activist and family friend Ye Du said. "Two-thirds of the earth's surface is covered by the sea and I can foresee that in the future, activists and ordinary people will go to the sea and memorialize Liu Xiaobo".
The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said the authorities refused to return Liu's items to his wife, including some manuscripts, literature reviews and poems Liu wrote during his time in prison. Chinese authorities said he was too ill to travel.
"We are very anxious".
People took to the streets of central Hong Kong on Saturday night, holding up candles and white roses and marching from the city's commercial heart to China's representative office during the evening vigil. Even in Liu's death, its disdain for him has been unsparing-answering questions regarding his death, the state observed, "Liu is a prisoner who was sentenced to imprisonment in accordance with Chinese law..."
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The government also said some of Liu's friends attended the ceremony, a claim that was disputed by people who have always been close to Liu.
"The desire for greater freedom, the desire to have a say in who governs you are irresistible human desires and that's all that Liu Xiaobo was doing", she told ABC TV on Sunday.
China has bristled previously at Tsai's comments on China's political system.
There is little mention of Liu in China's heavily censored state media and social networking platforms.
"Liu's memorial tablet can not find a place in China's cultural temple", the Global Times said in the editorial Saturday.
Wong reported from Beijing.