Mixed reactions to notice of Liu Xiaobo death

Liu Xiaobo nobel committeeA protester signs a book of condolences for jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, Thursday, July 13, 2017. Officials say China's most prominent political prisoner, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, has died. He was 61. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Mixed reactions to notice about Liu Xiaobo death

As one might expect there are mixed reactions regarding the death of the human rights activist, Liu Xiaobo. Norway today has compiled some of the reactions


Solberg: – Liu Xiaobo was a central voice in favour of human rights

– It is with sadness that I today received the message that Liu Xiaobo has passed away. For decades, Liu Xiaobo was a major voice for human rights and the further development of China. My thoughts go out to his wife, Liu Xia, his family and friends, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg in a statement.

Merkel acclaims Liu’s efforts for human rights

German Prime Minister Angela Merkel acclaims Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo for being a brave advocate for human rights.

– I mourn Liu Xiaobo, the brave advocate for human rights and freedom of speech, Merkel says in a statement related by her spokesperson Steffen Seibert.

Merkel sends her deepest condolences to Liu’s family.

Liu’s death makes China’s Government lose face

– It is the destiny of the Chinese leadership to be the ones who follow in the footsteps of the regime that murdered Carl von Ossietzky, according to a Norwegian expert on Chinese affairs.

This is what former NTB journalist and China expert, Kjell Arild Nilsen, says in a comment on the announcement that Chinese peace prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, died from liver cancer on Thursday.

Similar to Liu, the German peace prize laureate, Carl von Ossietzky, was not allowed to travel to Oslo to receive the Nobel Prize. Ossietzky died in a Nazi concentration camp without being treated for the tuberculosis he suffered from.

– This will be standing there forever and ever. It is a clear illustration of what regime governs China. Liu is not the first -or last – political prisoner to die in captivity in China, says Nilsen.

He says that Liu’s destiny shows how tight the regime has tightened the screw and how ruthlessly they act towards opposition.

Giant on clay feet

– But this is both strength and a weakness. A weakness that such a large country fears democratic ideas, and obviously realizes that there is a great seeding ground where such ideas can spread quickly, he says.

Nilsen says that the Chinese government must have known for some time that Liu was seriously ill. The diagnosis of liver cancer became publicly known in late May, but this is not a disease that erupts over night, he says.

When it first became known, it was almost too late to let Liu go abroad. Nilsen thinks that is was just what the regime with all means available wanted to prevent.

– They were afraid that he would spend his last moments to speak out, he says.

– The Government’s lack of willingness to condemn Liu’s treatment is pitiful and it has not become less pitiful now, he says; referring to The Prime Minister’s response.

Also the author and chinese expert, Torbjørn Færøvik, uses the word pitifully about the Government’s response.

Failed the exams

– Liu Xiaobo has been the Government’s first human rights test. Erna Solberg spoke out loud in her declaration on Government and made it clear that they really would fight for human rights, says Færøvik to NTB.

– And then in the first big exam, the Government is failing miserably. It shows what grip the Chinese have gotten on Norway in a short period of time, he says.

– The so-called normalization of relations dated December has already boomeranged and narrows the Government’s freedom on policy making, he says.

According to Færøvik, it has the consequence that the Government primarily thinks about the economic opportunities that normalization entails – and putting human rights on the back-burner.

Other Comments

– The government chose salmon before him. Don’t forgive them, Minerva think tank commentator, Jan Arild Snoen, tweets.

“Since the Government probably will not send a wreath, it must be up to us to remind people that Liu Xiaobo will remain China’s great shame”, writes newspaper commentator Sven Egil Omdal on Twitter, adding that it is “a through and through embarrassing affair for the Government.”

Petter Eide, former secretary general of the human rights organizations Amnesty and SV politician, told Aftenposten that he had hoped for a invitation visit from the Norwegian authorities.

– Liu died without a single friendly word and without recognition from the Norwegian politicians who had actually nominated him to the peace prize, Eide tells the newspaper.

Minister Jan Tore Sanner (Conservatives), who was behind the nomination, is on vacation, Aftenposten is informed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today