One immediate consequence of the awarding of the Nobel peace prize to Chinese democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobao has been a crackdown on his wife.
At the weekend Liu Xia made the long journey to his prison to break the news. On her return home, she found her flat surrounded by police and her phone cut off. She has been placed under house arrest.
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso sent a hand-delivered message of congratulations today, but the man from Brussels found the EU flag cut no ice with the security cordon, and he was turned away.
“I’m not sure why but we haven’t been allowed into this gated community here. We were told that we could only go in if we called somebody on the inside and if they came out to meet us, but of course we can’t call Liu Xia because it is impossible to get through to her phone. So right now I have no way to get in touch with her, so that’s it. I’m going to go back to my embassy now,” said the Political Affairs First Secretary to the EU’s Delegation, Simon Sharpe.
Beijing has also cancelled a scheduled meeting this week with the Norweigian fisheries minister to show its anger at the award.