Liu Xiaobo: Concern for China dissident's widow Liu Xia

Trevor Jackson
July 15, 2017

Officials say China's most prominent political prisoner, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, has died.

Liu, who died July 13 at age 61, received the Nobel for what the award committee called his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights".

The Nobel Committee, which had awarded Liu the Peace Prize in 2010, said the Chinese government bore a heavy responsibility for his death.

The ministry earlier hit back at criticism of Beijing's treatment of Mr Liu, saying: "The handling of Liu Xiaobo's case belongs to China's internal affairs, and foreign countries are in no position to make improper remarks".

The Nobel-winning writer and human rights activist died of liver cancer Thursday evening while in custody at a hospital in Shenyang in northeastern China. He died from late-stage liver cancer at Shenyang Hospital, Liaoning province, where he had been receiving medical treatment since June of this year. China's state-controlled Global Times said in an editorial that "the West has bestowed upon Liu a halo, which will not linger".

"You know that we had called upon them to allow him to be released along with his wife so that he could get treatment where he needed to", she said.

Geng also hit out at Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen for her comments on Liu and her calls for China to embrace democracy, saying her behavior was "very unsafe".

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. Human rights groups accused President Xi Jinping's government of "cruelty".

The foreign medical team agreed that the treatment he was receiving from Chinese physicians was adequate, but argued that Liu could be safely transported overseas for cancer treatment.

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A brief report in China's state-run media claimed Liu's funeral "would respect the wishes of his family and local customs, with relevant authorities providing assistance if the family requests it".

Close friends said they were anxious for her well-being, with reports that she had already lost both parents in the previous year and had suffered from depression and a heart condition. The hospital treating Liu said that he was suffering from respiratory and renal failure, as well as septic shock, and that his family had decided against inserting a breathing tube necessary to keep him alive. Liu Xia has been on House arrest since 2010.

Liu Xiaobo reportedly used his last few breaths to tell her to "live on well".

Liu spent much of the last three decades in forced confinement - at home, at labour camps or in prison. On Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the Chinese government to allow her to leave the country.

"It is nonsense for (China), on the one hand, to commit itself to worldwide rights protections in the exercise of its sovereignty and then, on the other, to say that holding it to such commitments is a violation of its sovereignty".

At a regular press briefing Friday afternoon, Geng said China has conveyed its "strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition" to all governments and global entities that commented on Liu's death, including the USA and the UN's human rights commission.

Seibert said Germany supported such a solution for the couple "and that will not end from one day to the next with the very regrettable death of Liu Xiaobo".

The lack of public pressure meant "China was able to kill a Nobel peace laureate with impunity", said Jay Nordlinger, a political commentator and author of a book on the Peace Prize's history.

Trump isn't the first USA president to tread lightly on the subject of human rights.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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