Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies

Liu Xiaobo Liu Xiaobo death china Liu Xiaobo china laureate death

"In his death, he has only reaffirmed the Nobel Committee's selection", said Tillerson in a statement. He had played a major role in the Tiananmen protests of June 1989 which ended in bloodshed when they were quashed by the People's Liberation Army soldiers.

"It is patriotic to defend the right to freedom of speech, publication, association, demonstration, and public protest, and to safeguard the public's right to know what is happening, to express themselves, to take part in political life and to oversee the government".

When the Tiananmen Square democracy movement broke out in 1989, Liu flew back to Beijing from NY, where he was a visiting scholar at Columbia University.

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

Later in 2009, Liu was given an 11-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" after helping write Charter 08, which called for reform of China's one-party government and an emphasis on freedom of expression. They included Charter 08, a document that was signed by more than 300 prominent scholars, writers, and rights activists around the country.

State news agency Xinhua reported the death only in English in a brief story that noted he had been seen by "China's top-rated cancer experts".

Imprisoned for all the seven years since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo never renounced the pursuit of human rights in China, insisting on living a life of "honesty, responsibility and dignity".

He became the first Nobel Peace laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938. How can a regime treat a person like Liu Xiaobo like this?

Where many gave up demanding democracy, he stood firm and was jailed repeatedly.

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The former head of the Nobel committee placed that year's peace prize on an empty chair to honour Liu. He is now survived by his wife, Liu Xia, sentenced under house arrest since 2010. After the turmoil of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, he became a professor of Chinese literature and studied as a visiting scholar at Columbia University. He and his wife, Liu Xia, had wanted to travel overseas for treatment, but Chinese authorities declined those requests.

But Chinese doctors said he was too ill to travel.

Liu, 61, was being treated for late-stage liver cancer.

It said several days of anti-infection and blood treatment had failed to halt his decline, and in the days leading up to his death he had experienced organ failure and difficulty breathing on his own.

What has the reaction been?

He added: "This is a very hard moment for Chinese human rights defenders".

China's dream should include his dream of political progress in China, she said. "I send my heartfelt condolences and deepest respects to his wife, Liu Xia, his family and friends, and hope that they will be able to grieve and honor him in accordance with their wishes", Zeid said in a statement.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Liu's death a "tragic passing" and noted his work "promoting peaceful democratic reform". Her fate will now worry human rights groups, which had urged the government to free her alongside Liu Xiaobo.

It added: "For decades, he fought tirelessly to advance human rights and fundamental freedoms in China".

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