The body of China’s Nobel laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo has been cremated after a “simple ceremony” attended by his wife and friends, the Xinhua state news agency said on Saturday.
Liu’s body was cremated “in accordance with the will of his family members and local customs” in the northeastern city of Shenyang, Xinhua said, citing the local justice bureau.
The government of the city of Shenyang in northeastern China, where Liu was treated, said in a briefing that the cremation took place in a ceremony attended by family and friends.
Officials released photos showing his wife Xia, with her brother, Liu Xiaobo’s brother and friends in front of the body surrounded by white flowers at a funeral home.
The wife and other family members of China’s best-known political prisoner have been closely guarded by Chinese authorities and largely out of contact with the outside world.
Liu, a prominent dissident since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, died from multiple organ failure on Thursday, having not been allowed to leave the country for treatment for late-stage liver cancer.
Already seriously ill, Liu was moved last month from prison to a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang to be treated.
Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as Charter 08, calling for sweeping political reforms.
He was awarded the Nobel prize in 2010 and was represented by an empty chair at the ceremony in Oslo.
The leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee which, to Beijing’s ire, awarded Liu the peace prize, said the Chinese government bore a heavy responsibility for his death.
“We find it deeply disturbing that Liu Xiaobo was not transferred to a facility where he could receive adequate medical treatment before he became terminally ill,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen.
“The Chinese Government bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death,” she said in an emailed statement.
The ruling Communist Party considered Liu’s writings subversive and imprisoned him four times.