Chinese Nobel laureate's death turns focus to widow's fate

Friends of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo's family say efforts to persuade the government to allow them to leave China were motivated not so much by a need to seek treatment for the terminally ill political prisoner but to facilitate an escape from China for his severely depressed wife, Liu Xia.

Liu Xiaobo's death on Thursday has returned his wife's fate to the fore, with foreign officials calling for Beijing to release her from house arrest and let her leave the country as she wishes.

Liu Xia was diagnosed with a heart muscle problem in 2014 and suffered from severe depression. She was seen by the couple's friends as the one who needed more urgent care before Liu Xiaobo's unexpected cancer diagnosis.