Nobel Peace Laureate's Wife Prevented From Meeting Reporters

A blue sign taped up to the fence next to the address plaque sign warns reporters that people in this residential compound do not accept interviews. Liu Xia, the wife of the newest Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, lives inside and is reportedly under hou

Chinese authorities are not allowing reporters to see the wife of the new Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo. She is believed to be under house arrest at her home in Beijing.

Several security men in plain clothes stood in front of the gate to Liu Xia's residential compound in Beijing on Monday. Her husband - jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo - was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week.

A security agent told reporters non-residents are forbidden to enter.

We said we want to visit Liu Xia, who lives inside. He said we could not enter the compound on our own, even if we register. He said she has to come out and escort visitors to her home.

But the reality is that her phone line has been cut and she is reported to be under house arrest. That means she can not freely come to greet visitors at the gate even if they could contact her.

About 15 journalists - all foreigners - gathered at the gate. No one was allowed in. A sign taped to the gate says all of the residents in the compound are not giving interviews. One of the agents said authorities also plan to post an English version of the sign, for the benefit of foreign reporters.

A few minutes later, a uniformed policeman arrived.

He said residents called the police because they saw so many strangers standing at the gate and were worried about safety. He asked to check everyone's identification documents.

The scene in front of Liu Xia's house is not unique. We also tried to visit senior dissident Bao Tong. He is one of the original signers of the Charter 08 - a manifesto calling for political reform that Liu Xiaobo helped organize.

Plain-clothed security agents in the lobby of Bao's building took the time to register us, but then would not allow us to visit him. They said Bao had to come down personally to escort us to his home. It was not surprising that the phone line to Bao's home had been cut, so there was no way to communicate with him either.

China has reacted angrily to the decision to give Liu the Nobel.

On Monday, a commentary in one newspaper, the Global Times, attacked the West for showing willful prejudice against China with the award.

The article accused Western countries of having "intense fear" of China's rise, which the author said would be unstoppable and could mean the end for what he called "Western hegemony."

However, most state-run Chinese media have been silent about the Nobel, which means that many Chinese do not know that one of their countrymen won the prestigious international prize.

Also Monday, Norwegian officials said China had canceled a planned meeting with Norway's fisheries minister this week. Beijing had warned that after the Nobel committee in Norway gave Liu the peace prize it would harm relations between the two countries.