Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Prominent Chinese democracy advocate Lie Xiaobo dies in a Chinese prison

Prominent Chinese democracy advocate Lie Xiaobo dies in a Chinese prison

Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize victor for his efforts to promote democracy in Communist China, died at age 61 due to multiple organ failure from cancer.

The Shenyang legal bureau said in a brief statement on its website that Liu had suffered multiple organ failure and efforts to save him had failed.

The pro-democracy advocate was jailed in 2009 for co-authoring a manifesto - Charter 08 - calling for sweeping political reforms in China.

Although numerous Charter 08 signers were interrogated, only Liu was arrested and charged with trying to overthrow the government.

Tillerson also urged Beijing to free Liu's widow, the poet Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010 but was allowed to be with him at the hospital where he died.

To many, Liu represented hope for a freer China with more room for dissent.

Wu Qiang, a supporter of Liu who had traveled to Shenyang with Zeng, the documentary filmmaker, said he admired Liu's resolve to bring about political change despite numerous setbacks.

But the government warned repeatedly against interference and said Liu was being treated by renowned Chinese cancer experts.

A police officer stands guard next to a protester who displayed a placard to support jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, Thursday, July 13, 2017. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 while in prison.

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PEN America said in a statement that Liu's death "will forever be a black mark marring China's reputation under worldwide law and global human rights standards".

China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo died Thursday after a battle with cancer, remaining in custody until the end as officials ignored global pleas to let him spend his final days free and overseas.

Extending heartfelt condolences and deepest respects to his wife, Liu Xia, his family and friends, Mr. Zeid said Mr. and Mrs. Liu were a courageous couple and absolutely devoted to one another. How can a regime treat a person like Liu Xiaobo like this?

Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty said: "Today we grieve the loss of a giant of human rights".

According to The Telegraph, Beijing was infuriated by the Nobel committee's decision to honor Liu, and censored the live broadcast of the ceremony. In a move that felt crass and disgusting, the Chinese authorities filmed the dying Liu without his consent to make propaganda films falsely depicting merciful treatment of him. Despite enduring years of persecution, suppression and imprisonment, Liu Xiaobo continued to fight for his convictions.

Liu was the third Nobel laureate to receive the peace prize while under arrest or under house arrest.

He is the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in state custody since 1938, CBS News reports. "My thoughts and prayers are with her, their family and the countless friends Liu Xiaobo had around the world". After the turmoil of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, he became a professor of Chinese literature and studied as a visiting scholar at Columbia University.

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