Jailed China critic and Nobel winner dies

Marsha Scott
July 14, 2017

A protester displays pictures of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia during a demonstration outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, Thursday, July 13, 2017.

The Chinese literary critic, lecturer and human rights activist was a leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

He was subsequently placed in a detention centre and released in 1991.

He was later freed, and continued to campaign for democracy.

China had kept a tight control on information about Liu's case and imposed strict security at the hospital.

"Whether it was gross negligence or political murder, they have committed an unprecedented crime as no other government of the world has ever seen a Nobel Peace Prize laureate die in its custody", said Hu Jia, a leading Chinese human rights activist, when Liu first left jail.

While imprisoned, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".

"Among the great nations of the world, China, alone, still clings to an authoritarian political way of life", said the Charter, translated into English by California-Riverside East Asian Studies Professor Perry Link.

Many held signs reading "The people's hero, he'll always be remembered", "the murder of a dissident" and "free Liu Xia".

The empty chair for Liu Xiaobo stands at the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in 2010. His wife, Liu Xia has been under house arrest since then.

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In Charter 08, Liu described freedom as a basic universal value.

Global human rights groups, Western governments and local activists had urged authorities to free Liu and grant his final wish to be treated overseas. But Chinese medical experts insisted that he was too ill to travel.

In a brief statement, the Shenyang legal bureau said Mr Liu had suffered multiple organ failure while in the intensive care unit and efforts to save him had failed.

What has the reaction been?

PEN America said in a statement that Liu's death "will forever be a black mark marring China's reputation under worldwide law and global human rights standards".

Tsai Ing-wen, the president of self-ruled Taiwan which China regards as a wayward province, said on her Facebook page the island hoped China could now show self-confidence and promote political reform following Liu's death. Asked why the references about Liu were removed, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that the ministry has the right to decide aut the content of the transcripts.

The U.N. Human Rights Chief expressed "deep sorrow" over Liu's death, saying the human rights movement has lost a "principled champion".

For example, CNN did not mention that the Chinese government is communist and only mentioned the word once, thanks to a tweet by another Chinese dissident. He said her husband dedicated his life to improving China and humankind and to pursuing justice and liberty. The human rights activists in China and overseas had demanded Beijing to free her from the house arrest, calling it atrocious.

The video released by China was denounced as "grotesque propaganda" by Human Rights Watch.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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