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February 20, 2014

Chinese Artist Gets Treatment for Heart Condition

by VOA News

Chinese artist Liu Xia has been taken to a hospital for a heart condition experienced during her extended period of house arrest.

The 53-year-old has been held without charge for three years because of the activism of her husband, jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Lawyer and family friend Mo Shaoping said Thursday that Liu was allowed to check into a Beijing hospital. Mo said police have refused her request to be treated overseas.

Liu Xia has also complained of severe depression as a result of the solitary confinement, but has been hesitant to seek medical treatment out of fear she will be sent to a psychiatric hospital.

She is not allowed visitors and has no Internet at Beijing apartment, which she is only occasionally allowed to leave for basic errands with a large police escort.

The poet, painter and photographer's husband is serving an 11-year prison term after being found guilty in 2009 for "subversion."

Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his activism in support of peaceful democratic change in China, which is under a one-party political system that does not allow criticism.

The case has attracted international headlines and prompted outrage from governments and human rights groups around the world.

Beijing has angrily rejected foreign and domestic criticism of the case, insisting it has acted in accordance with its own laws. However, it has not explained why Liu Xia has been held under house arrest.

China's Communist Party-controlled courts have convicted a rising number of activists and dissidents in recent years on subversion or incitement of subversion charges.