Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo dies at 61

Physicians diagnosed him with terminal liver cancer last May
Photo: REUTERS
13/07/2017
14:32
AFP
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Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace laureate and leader of the Tiananmen democratic movement in 1989, died this Thursday at 61 years old due to cancer, reported authorities, after Beijing denied permission to leave the country where he was jailed for “subversion.”

Liu, a prominent Chinese pro-democracy activist, was released on probation and was hospitalized in Shenyang hospital in northeastern China after being detained for eight years, the communist regime announced at the end of June.

Doctors diagnosed the writer and literature professor with terminal liver cancer last May.

The news of his hospitalization at the end of June provoked criticism from various human rights organizations and Liu's family, who reproached Beijing for denying permission to leave prison, but the Chinese government insisted that Liu was cared for by prestigious oncologists.

The dissident wanted to be hospitalized abroad, and several countries, including the United States and Germany, called on the communist regime to grant his request, but Beijing regarded those intentions as interference in their internal affairs.

Ye Du, a dissident close to Liu's family, said that Beijing wanted to arrest the political opponent "to death." Outside China, Liu "could express himself politically as a Nobel laureate, which would have a negative impact on the party and the country," Ye Du told AFP.

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced in 2009 to 11 years in prison for "subversion" after demanding democratic reforms. He is one of the authors of a daring manifesto, Letter 08, which called for free elections. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

"We find it deeply disturbing that Liu Xiaobo has not been transferred to a hospital where he could have received adequate medical treatment before his illness advanced to a terminal phase," Nobel Committee Chairman Berit Reiss-Andersen said on Thursday. "The Chinese government has a great responsibility for its premature death," he added in a statement.

The name of the Nobel Prize is taboo in China's official press, except in the newspapers written in English, which qualify Liu as a "criminal." The dissident is unknown to much of the population of his country.

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