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China cracks down on supporters of Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo

Since Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize three weeks ago, dozens of his supporters have disappeared, been subjected to police surveillance, or been put under house arrest.

A man rides a tricycle past a security guard standing at the entrance of the residential compound where Liu Xia, the wife of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, lives in Beijing, on Oct. 19.

David Gray/Reuters

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Dozens of supporters of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo have been disappeared, put under house arrest, or subjected to close police surveillance since Mr. Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize three weeks ago, human rights activists here and abroad say.

“The government does not know how to handle Liu Xiaobo’s award,” says Pu Zhiqiang, a human rights lawyer being subjected to a 24-hour police escort since he was released from the small hotel where he was kept incommunicado earlier this month. “Government control over society has been tightened up.”

The authorities have responded publicly to Liu’s prize with a slew of articles in the official media attacking the Norwegian committee that picked Liu and a harshly negative profile of the political essayist and literary critic that was published this week by Xinhua, the state news agency.

“Liu has been badmouthing his own country and his own nation for payment from the West such as ‘human rights prize,’ ” the Xinhua article charged. “He has spared no effort in working for Western anti-China forces.”

Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for “incitement to subversion of state power,” a charge based largely on his coauthorship of Charter 08, a public call for democratic freedoms and an end to one-party rule in China.

Nearly 40 people under house arrest, some held incommunicado

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