Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was China’s most prominent human rights and democracy advocate, has died aged 61. The activist had been serving an 11-year prison term for “subversion” and was recently moved to a hospital for treatment for terminal liver cancer.
When Liu Xiaobo was formally awarded his Nobel Peace prize in 2010, he was represented at the ceremony by an empty chair. By then, the dissident academic was in prison again, this time serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” for his role in drafting a democracy manifesto for China. But his voice was heard at the ceremony, when an actor read aloud the statement he had written for the court that jailed him.
To avoid censors, people in China posted abstract illustrations of the activist Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia https://t.co/VdwNcI5vKG
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 14, 2017
The Nobel Peace Prize is the only one of the Five Nobel Prizes awarded by Norway and the committee has a history of making controversial decisions which have been vindicated by history. The prizes have been awarded to (amongst others) the Burmese Leader Aung San Suu Kyi (as far back as 1991), the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), and the Irishman Sean McBride who has the distinction of being the only recipient of both the Nobel and Lenin Peace Prizes.
Controversial human rights issues in China include policies such as capital punishment, the one-child policy, the social status of Tibetans, and lack of protections regarding freedom of press and religion. One of the foremost areas of concern is a lack of legal rights, for want of an independent judiciary, rule of law, and due process. Another prominent area of concern is lack of labour rights, which is related to the hukou system, the absence of independent unions, and discrimination against rural workers and ethnic minorities. Yet another area of concern is the lack of religious freedom, highlighted by state clashes with Christian, Tibetan Buddhist, and Falun Gong groups.
Amnesty International had long called for Liu’s release as a Prisoner of Conscience. The incarceration of the Nobel Peace Prize winner by the self appointed clique of the Chinese Communist Party was an affront and an outrage.
Liu Xiaobo, who was born on 28 December 1955 in Changchun, Jilin, was seen as a hero by many but a villain by his own government. The Nobel committee described him as the “foremost symbol” of the struggle for human rights in China.
A university professor turned tireless rights campaigner, Mr Liu was branded a criminal by authorities. The Nobel Committee said the Chinese government bore a “heavy responsibility for his premature death”. The campaigner was repeatedly jailed throughout his life. When not in prison, he was subject to severe restrictions while his wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest. Mr Liu died “peacefully”, surrounded by his wife and other relatives, a doctor who treated him said. His final words to Liu Xia were: “Live on well,” the South China Morning Post reported.
On Friday, there were signs that having condemned Liu to almost a quarter of his life behind bars, China’s leaders were also seeking to control his funeral. Activist Hu Jia said authorities were pressuring Liu’s family to quickly cremate his body. Relatives would only be allowed to hold “a simple farewell ceremony, under severe surveillance,” Hu said, adding that Liu’s friends had been unable to find out specific details.
With Beijing desperate to tamp down discussion of Liu’s fate and ideas, China’s state-run media all but ignored his death. An editorial in one English-language tabloid sought to portray Li not as a victim of the Communist party, but of western “forces” who had tried to use him to undermine party rule. “The west has bestowed upon Liu a halo, which will not linger,” the newspaper said, before attempting to rubbish the Nobel laureate’s legacy. “Even if he could live longer, he would never have achieved his political goals.”
Around the world, Liu Xiaobo will be remembered as a moral giant. https://t.co/zEdopIgN6e
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) July 14, 2017
Today we mourn human rights champion #LiuXiaobo. With courage and dignity, he inspired millions in China and around the world.
Posted by Amnesty International on Thursday, 13 July 2017
Jerome Cohen, an expert in Chinese law and human rights from New York University, said Beijing’s treatment of Liu and his wife revealed “the Orwellian China that is developing under president Xi Jinping”. He predicted that even after Liu’s death, Beijing’s attempts to cover up his message of democratic change would persist.
However, Cohen said he feared Beijing’s persecution of the dissident’s wife, Liu Xia, would continue as it fought to prevent her becoming a symbol of political resistance and freedom of expression. “One-party dictatorships can’t allow free speech. That is why they tried to keep her quiet,” he said. “They may decide just to keep her under wraps indefinitely until she, too, succumbs to either mental illness or physical illness.”
— CNN (@CNN) July 14, 2017
The bravery and integrity of Liu Xiaobo will be remembered long after the mediocrity and cruel tyranny of the Communist cabal of hideous waxworks who comprise the corrupt Politburo will be forgotten. Monuments will be raised to him in years to come wherever freedom is valued and his bravery will stand in defiant contrast to the cowardice of the Communist Tyranny and its corrupt leader Xi Jinping and the venal foreign leaderships who uncritically fete him.
When he made his statement to the court in 2009 (which was stopped by the judge halfway through) Mr Liu said: “I hope I will be the last victim of China’s long record of treating words as crimes.” Alas, that seems very unlikely.
Remember the bravery of Liu Xiaobo, free Liu Xia and the Chinese People from Dictatorship.
Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Laureate, Chinese literary critic, writer, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and was involved in campaigns to end communist single-party rule.
Born: December 28, 1955, Changchun, China – Died: July 13, 2017 Shenyang, China. from liver cancer
Spouse: Liu Xia (m. 1996) Books: No Enemies, No Hatred, MORE – Education: Beijing Normal University PhD (1984), Jilin University (1977–1982)