Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

China's dissident Liu Xiaobo dies 'without enemies'

Tiananmen leader says world failed to save mentor Liu Tiananmen leader says world failed to save mentor Liu
Juana Turner | 15 July, 2017, 00:04

China has pushed back against a wave of worldwide censure over the death of democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo, telling the world to stay out of its "domestic affairs" and labelling the 2010 decision to award the late activist a Nobel peace prize "a blasphemy".

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang rejected the criticism of China's handling of Liu's death, adding that doctors made "all-out" efforts to treat him.

Beijing detained Liu in 2008 for his role in writing the manifesto and a year later sentenced him to 11 years in prison for "subversion".

The following year, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".

Members of the U.S. Congress have held a hearing on the life of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo following his death in Chinese custody.

Shortly after Liu's death, Beijing's propaganda machine was already predicting the world would soon forget the democracy advocate, who lost a battle with liver cancer on Thursday at the age of 61.

Judicial authorities in Shenyang, where Liu was being treated, said he was given emergency treatment beginning Monday after his condition continued to deteriorate.

"At the same time it is our deep conviction that Liu Xiaobo will remain a powerful symbol for all who fight for freedom, democracy and a better world".

Japan's government says it will continue to pay close attention to human rights in China after the death of its most famous political prisoner. But the least it could have done in the case of its internationally known rights activist was to allow him to travel overseas for treatment when it became known he was battling for his life with liver cancer.

The Nobel Committee said in a statement, "We find it deeply disturbing that Liu Xiaobo was not transferred to a facility where he could receive adequate medical treatment before he became terminally ill".

Germany and the United States had offered to take him in for medical care.

Almost seven years ago, neither Liu nor her husband's supporters foresaw the repercussions the award would have on her: a writer and artist who never considered herself a political person, who unflinchingly supported Liu Xiaobo but never actively participated in his campaigns. Liu once said, "I hope I will be the last victim in China's long record of treating words as crimes".

Salil Shetty, secretary-general of Amnesty International, called Liu "a man of fierce intellect, principle, wit and above all humanity".

After spending almost two years in detention following the Tiananmen crackdown, Liu was detained for the second time in 1995 after drafting a plea for political reform.

China's state media have described Liu as a stooge of the West, saying his Nobel Peace Prize was a sign of the West's prejudice, arrogance and intent to impose its own ideology on China. The military crackdown killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of people and heralded a more repressive era. On that day the world honoured and celebrated Liu Xiaobo's courage as it does again today.

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.

Liu Xia has been under house arrest since 2010 and only reunited with her husband last month when he was released on medical parole.

"Despite all he suffered, (he) continued to espouse the politics of peace", the United Nations high commissioner for human rights said.

Liu could not collect the prize himself, and he was represented at the ceremony by an empty chair.

She then referred to the "Chinese Dream", a term popularized by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

"He set a great example for intellectuals in China, and for next generation, that he sacrificed his life for human rights for freedom of speech in China".

"I'm asking for political reform, asking for human rights, freedom and democracy", Ms Ai said.

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