Beijing fearful of any grave site, monument for Liu Xiaobo

Cheryl Sanders
July 14, 2017

Few inside China know of Mr Liu and Chinese state media has ignored the story of his impending death.

"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", the Nobel committee said in a statement.

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. Tillerson's call has been echoed by other officials and activists around the globe - though not by US President Donald Trump - however, China has so far been reluctant to give in to global pressure.

"They used Liu's illness as a tool to boost their image and demonize China", it said.

A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. "However, the West only puts a halo on those useful to them".

"Liu lived in an era when China witnessed the most rapid growth in recent history, but he attempted to confront Chinese mainstream society under Western support", it said. "This has determined his tragic life".

Turkish writer Elif Shafak hailed Lui "a courageous and generous soul who dared to stand for freedom", and United Kingdom poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy praised him for his work, power, courage and love with thanks for "everything you have done in your fight for a better world".

It follows a similar call from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who on Thursday urged the Chinese government to release her from house arrest and allow her to leave China.

"Tonight we, together with all those concerned with human rights in China, are feeling deep sorrow over Mr Liu Xiaobo's death", Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said. His conviction in late 2009 stemmed from his co-authorship of a manifesto calling for human rights and political reform China. "The handling of Liu Xiaobo's case belongs to China's internal affairs, and foreign countries are in no position to make improper remarks", said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular press conference in Beijing earlier today, adding that doctors had done all that they could to save Liu's life. But the statement did not appear on its website, where transcripts of daily news briefings have been scrubbed clean of all mentions of Liu. Liu is also known for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing. It was only the first of four imprisonments. Nineteen measures were itemized with the aim of improving China's human rights situation.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was saddened by the news, acknowledging his "long and non-violent struggle" for fundamental human rights in China. At the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 2010, he was represented by an empty chair.

Worldwide human rights groups, Western governments and local activists had urged authorities to free Liu and grant his final wish to be treated overseas.

China bears a "heavy responsibility" for the death of Liu, the Nobel Committee said yesterday, less than two months after the 61-year-old was transferred to hospital from prison.

In Lui's 2010 Nobel Prize lecture, translated by J. Latourelle, he had written: "I look forward to [the day] when my country is a land with freedom of expression, where the speech of every citizen will be treated equally well; where different values, ideas, beliefs, and political views can both compete with each other and peacefully coexist; where both majority and minority views will be equally guaranteed, and where the political views that differ from those now in power, in particular, will be fully respected and protected; where all political views will spread out under the sun for people to choose from, where every citizen can state political views without fear, and where no one can under any circumstances suffer political persecution for voicing divergent political views". The first, Carl von Ossietzky, died from tuberculosis in Germany in 1938 while serving a sentence for opposing Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

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