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Nobel winner's wife thought to be visiting imprisoned husband

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Lawyer hopes Nobel will help Liu Xiaobo
  • Liu Xia is thought to have left Beijing for the prison, the lawyer says
  • She had been packing for the trip on Friday
  • Her husband, Liu Xiaobo, is the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner

Beijing, China (CNN) -- Liu Xia, the wife of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, is believed to have left Beijing to go to Jinzhou, where her husband is imprisoned, Liu Xiaobo's lawyer told CNN on Saturday.

Shang Baojun said he did not know if the couple had met and was no longer able to reach Liu Xia.

Her mobile phone service has been disconnected and she has not updated her Twitter account since Thursday.

Liu's wife said Friday she had been packing under the surveillance of police officers, who promised to take her to visit her husband Saturday. She said she could not wait to see him to tell him he is this year's peace laureate.

Liu Xiaobo won the prize Friday, but news of the win has been blacked out in China, with no mention of it on Chinese media. The same censorship applies to Chinese blogs and micro-blogging sites like Twitter, and authorities have blocked the Nobel Peace Prize section of the official Nobel website.

At least two international television networks -- CNN and BBC -- were blacked out as the Nobel committee announced the winner on Friday, and CNN's reports on Liu remained blacked out for most of the day.

Liu was sentenced in 2009 to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion of state power. He is the co-author of Charter 08, a call for political reform and human rights, and was an adviser to the student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

His wife called the Nobel Prize "an affirmation of what he has fought for."

Liu Xiaobo's longtime friend Pu Zhiqiang said the prize may not help Liu right now, but it will have effects for the future.

"In the long run, it will leave a legacy that is sure to help bring democratic reform and freedom to China, that will far outlast Liu's life," Pu told CNN outside the gates of Liu's apartment complex.

The Chinese government was angry at the win, calling it "blasphemy against the peace prize" that could harm relations between China and Norway, where the Norwegian Nobel Committee is located.

"Liu Xiaobo is a convicted criminal sentenced to jail by Chinese justice. His acts are in complete contradiction to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.

Human rights groups like Amnesty International, world leaders such as U.S. President Barack Obama, and governments around the world all praised the awarding of the prize to Liu, with many calling on the Chinese government to free him.

CNN's Steven Jiang contributed to this report.