China's dissident Liu Xiaobo dies 'without enemies'

Kristopher Drake
July 15, 2017

China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo died Thursday after a battle with cancer, remaining in custody until the end as officials rebuffed worldwide pleas to let the prominent dissident receive treatment overseas.

Friends and relatives of late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo said on Friday they had not been able to contact his widow Liu Xia despite mounting global calls for her to be allowed to leave the country.

"Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law", the Chinese foreign ministry had said in a statement.

In the days after the Chinese writer and dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, on October 8, 2010, his country cut off trade talks with Norway, home of the Nobel committee, and placed his wife under house arrest.

"We find it deeply disturbing that Liu Xiaobo was not transferred to a facility where he could receive adequate medical treatment before he became terminally ill", the Nobel Committee said in a statement.

In the wake of Liu Xiaobo's death on Thursday, supporters of China's most famous jailed dissident have voiced their worries about the fate of his widow, calling on the Chinese government to finally give Liu Xia her freedom.

The statement praises Liu's leading role as a human rights activist and his unremitting efforts for democracy and tolerance in China. The hospital treating Liu said that he was suffering from respiratory and renal failure, as well as septic shock, and that his family had decided against inserting a breathing tube necessary to keep him alive.

Shortly after Liu's death, Beijing's propaganda machine was already predicting the world would soon forget the democracy advocate, who lost a battle with liver cancer on Thursday at the age of 61.

One of the most important critic of China's Communist Party has died after years of imprisonment.

Germany, UK, France, the United States and Taiwan have called on China to allow her to leave the country if she wishes.

On Friday, there were signs that having condemned Liu to nearly a quarter of his life behind bars, China's leaders were also seeking to control his funeral.

"If we don't join the students in the square and face the same kind of danger, then we don't have any right to speak", Xiaobo was quoted by Hou. Under de facto house arrest since his Nobel win, Liu Xia saw her communication with the outside world nearly completely cut by the government. We must not forget the "foot soldiers" in the Chinese repressive apparatus who were accomplices: Jia Lianchun, the president of Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, his assessors Zheng Wenwei and Zhai Changxi, and the prosecutors Zhang Rongge and Pan Xueqing, who were all happy to convict Liu Xiaobo in a trial lasting just two hours.

In 1996, the authorities granted him permission to marry Liu Xia, an artist and poet, whilst still in jail.

On 8 October, 2010, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his "long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights". He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.

"The reaction to his illness shows how much he was respected", said Cui Weiping, a former professor of literature in Beijing who knew Liu and now lives in Los Angeles.

"He set a great example for intellectuals in China, and for next generation, that he sacrificed his life for human rights for freedom of speech in China".

A pro-democracy activist mourns the death of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo outside China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong on July 13. "Even if he could live longer, he would never have achieved his political goals". It was a fearless fight that Liu fought.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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