China rejects appeal on behalf of Nobel Prize winner's widow

BEIJING (AP) — China has rejected an appeal from dozens of writers and artists for the release from house arrest of the widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that Liu Xia's right to travel was a matter for the Chinese government alone to determine.

Lu's comments came after writers and artists including South African novelist J.M. Coetzee, Rita Dove, Paul Auster Khaled Hosseini, Hu Ping, and Michael Chabon read excerpts of Liu Xia's poetry as part of a video campaign.

Liu Xiaobo died of cancer last year while serving a prison sentence.

Liu Xia, whose health is believed to be in decline, has never been charged with a crime, but has been kept guarded and isolated since her husband was awarded the 2010 prize.