The death of Comrade Liu
Liu Xiaobo’s name was synonymous with the hope of freedom for all of still Red China’s people. Throughout his all too short life, he never ceased speaking out for what he believed.
When he died Thursday, he was only 61 — but what a life he had led. He tried to protect his fellow protesters back in the Year of Hope, 1989, as Communism was collapsing around the world. By the time the Chinese regime’s bureau of “justice” announced his death in Shenyang, the city where he was imprisoned for his thought crimes, his liver cancer had progressed to the point where it was no longer treatable. “Can’t operate, can’t do radiotherapy, can’t do chemotherapy,” his devoted wife Liu Xia told a friend in a video that was seen around the world.
Cui Weiping, a professor of literature who knew Liu Xiaobo back in Beijing, now is free of the regime’s clutches and living in Los Angeles. As she noted: “The reaction to his illness shows how much he was respected. People from all walks of life — friends, strangers, young people — have been outraged to hear that someone with terminal cancer was kept locked up till he died.” East or West, red or black, fascist or Communist, tyranny remains tyranny, cruel as ever.
Liu Xiaobo was the first Nobel laureate to die in prison since Carl von Ossietzky, a German fighter against Nazism, who expired in 1938 after years of persecution, neglect and general maltreatment. The more things change, the more they seem to remain the same. Only the uniforms are different. And the symbols, too, as the swastika has given way to the hammer-and-sickle. And all these moral crimes are inevitably committed in the name of The People.
Liu Xiaobo leaves the world with this last will, testament and shout of undying defiance: “Hatred can rot a person’s wisdom and conscience. An enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation and inflame brutal life-and-death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a country’s advance toward freedom and democracy.” This is not the end of Liu Xiaobo’s story but just one more chapter, for the memory of the righteous remains a blessing forever.