Death of Liu Xiaobo

‘A coura­geous fighter for civil rights’

The Witness - - NEWS -

BEI­JING — Chi­nese No­bel Peace Prize lau­re­ate Liu Xiaobo, a prom­i­nent dis­si­dent since the 1989 Tianan­men Square pro­democ­racy protests, died af­ter be­ing de­nied per­mis­sion to leave the coun­try for treat­ment for late­stage liver can­cer.

Liu (61) was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “in­cit­ing sub­ver­sion of state power” af­ter he helped write a pe­ti­tion known as “Char­ter 08” calling for sweep­ing po­lit­i­cal re­forms.

Mourn­ing his death, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel called Liu a “coura­geous fighter for civil rights and free­dom of ex­pres­sion”, while the French, Bri­tish and U.S. gov­ern­ments called on China to al­low Liu’s fam­ily to move around freely.

Al­ready se­ri­ously ill, Liu — a thorn in the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party’s side since he helped ne­go­ti­ate a deal to al­low pro­test­ers to leave Tianan­men Square be­fore troops and tanks rolled in — was moved last month from prison to a hos­pi­tal in the north­east­ern city of Shenyang to be treated.

The Shenyang Bu­reau of Jus­tice said in a brief state­ment on its web­site that Liu had suf­fered mul­ti­ple or­gan fail­ure and ef­forts to save him had failed.

The hos­pi­tal treat­ing him con­firmed in a sep­a­rate state­ment the cause of death. Though al­lowed out on med­i­cal pa­role, he was never freed, spend­ing his fi­nal days in the hos­pi­tal sur­rounded by se­cu­rity guards.

The leader of the Nor­we­gian No­bel Com­mit­tee which, to Bei­jing’s ire, awarded Liu the peace prize in 2010, said the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment bore a heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity for his death.

“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,” said Berit Reiss­An­der­sen in an e­mailed state­ment.

China said at the time that Liu’s award was an “ob­scen­ity” that should not have gone to a man it called a crim­i­nal and a sub­ver­sive. Carl von Ossi­et­zky, a paci­fist who died in 1938 in Nazi Ger­many’s Ber­lin, was the last No­bel Peace Prize win­ner to live out his dy­ing days un­der state sur­veil­lance. — Reuters.

Liu Xiaobo.

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