Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo dies at age 61

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Posted By : NewaslineToday Bureau
Date  14/07/2017
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, China`s most prominent political prisoner, died Thursday at a hospital in the country`s northeast, officials said. He was 61.

Liu had been transferred to the hospital after being diagnosed with advanced liver cancer in prison in May but remained under police custody. In an online announcement, the judicial bureau of the city of Shenyang said he died of multiple organ failure.

Liu was only the second Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in prison, a fact pointed to by human rights groups as an indication of the Chinese Communist Party`s increasingly hard line against its critics. The first, Carl von Ossietzky, died from tuberculosis in Germany in 1938 while serving a sentence for opposing Adolf Hitler`s Nazi regime.

"Hitler was wild and strong and thought he was right — but history proved he was wrong in imprisoning a Nobel Peace Prize winner," said Mo Shaoping, an old friend and Liu`s former lawyer, adding that he was heartbroken by Liu`s death. "The authorities consider Liu Xiaobo guilty, but history will prove he is not."

Liu`s supporters and foreign governments had urged China to allow him to receive treatment abroad, but Chinese authorities insisted he was receiving the best care possible for a disease that had spread throughout his body.

News of Liu`s death triggered an outpouring of dismay among his friends and supporters.

"There are only two words to describe how we feel right now: grief and fury," family friend and activist Wu Yangwei, better known by his penname Ye Du, said by phone. "The only way we can grieve for Xiaobo and bring his soul some comfort is to work even harder to try to keep his influence alive."

Liu was imprisoned for the first time in connection with the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010 while serving his fourth and final prison sentence, for inciting subversion by advocating sweeping political reforms and greater human rights in China.

"What I demanded of myself was this: whether as a person or as a writer, I would lead a life of honesty, responsibility, and dignity," Liu wrote in "I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement," which he had hoped to read out in court when being sentenced in 2009. He was not permitted to do so and received an 11-year prison sentence.

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