Family, friends bid farewell to Liu Xiaobo

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The comments are likely to irk China, which has lodged "stern representations" with Western countries that made remarks about Liu Xiaobo, and add fuel to its testy relationship with Australia.

"I just want to be closer to him and to see him, touch him even, if it's possible, and to give Liu Xia a hug, that's all", she said in English.

Authorities also released photos of a private ceremony attended by his family, including his wife, whose fate worries supporters hoping the government will cede to worldwide pressure to release her and let her leave China.

"This is too evil, too evil", exiled author Liao Yiwu told the Guardian in reaction to Liu's cremation and sea burial.

Supporters paid their respects by observing a minute of silence and marching through the streets of Hong Kong holding lit candles. "I have nothing to say other than that I'm extremely infuriated", Mo said.

Liu Xiaobo's widow, Liu Xia, was not at the presser.

The 68-year-old brother said throughout the whole process starting with the treatment, cremation and scattering of ashes at sea, everything reflects the advantage of the socialist system and leading experts from home and overseas gathered together for Liu Xiaobo's treatment.

A government official in Shenyang, where Mr Liu had been jailed, told a news conference: "According to my understanding, Liu Xia is now free", adding that as a Chinese citizen, her rights would be protected under the law.

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Supporters were also angry about the treatment of his wife Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, and friends continue to hope the government will bow to global pressure to allow her to leave China.

Like most people in the United States, we were very saddened to read about the death of Liu Xiaobo ["An empty chair, and a life filled with peaceful fury", front page, July 14]. On Friday, the committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize said it was "deeply worried" about her and urged China to free her.

A handful of family members, including Liu's wife, Liu Xia, attended the small funeral service on Saturday morning.

Zhang did not reveal Liu Xia's whereabouts.

Liu rose to prominence during the 1989 pro-democracy protests centered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, and became one of hundreds of Chinese imprisoned for crimes linked to the demonstrations after they were crushed by the military.

He had been jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power" after helping to write a petition known as "Charter 08" calling for sweeping political reforms.

Wong reported from Beijing.