The death of Com­rade Liu

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

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.

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