Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is dead
The Chinese dissident and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo is dead, according to a spokesman for the Government of Shenyang.
The 61-year-old dissident was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer in May this year. He was therefore transferred from prison to a hospital in Shenyang. His condition gradually deteriorated in recent weeks. The doctors reported this week that he was dying.
Chinese authorities rejected all claims to allow Liu Xiaobo to go abroad for treatment, claiming that his condition was too serious. Foreign doctors who visited him contradicted this claim.
Germany and the United States earlier this week asked the Chinese authorities to release Liu. Beijing also refused to comply.
– We hope that the countries involved will respect China’s legal sovereignty and refrain from interfering with China’s internal affairs on the pretext that this is a unique case, Geng Shuang, stated on Thursday. Geng is a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Only a few hours later, the Shenyang juridical authorities reported that the Chinese dissident was dead.
Among the first to react to the news was Heiko Maas, Minister of Justice in Germany.
– His non-violent resistance made him a hero in the struggle for democracy and human rights. Rest in peace, Maas Tweets.
Liu’s wife, Xias, and other family members have been present in the hospital for the last few days. They were however not allowed to talk to the outside world.
Nobel prize had repercutions
In 2009, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison for participating in the writing of the political manifesto Charter 08. The charter calls for democracy and political reforms in China.
The following year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “long and non-violent struggle for basic human rights in China”.
Chinese authorities became furious, accused Norway of rewarding a sentenced “criminal”. They put the negotiating a free trade agreement on ice and refused political contact at a high level.
Six years later, China agreed normalizes the relationship. In April of this year, Prime Minister Erna Solberg visited the country, spear-heading a Norwegian delegation with 240 representatives from Norwegian businesses.
Hailed by Jagland
General Secretary of The Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, who led the Nobel Committee when Liu received the prize, compares the Chinese dissident with the German pacifist and Nobel laureate, Carl von Ossietzky, who died in a hospital during the Nazi reign in 1938.
– Liu Xiaobo was a man who fought for human rights through peaceful means. The Nobel Committee wanted to emphasize that the fight for human rights is an important part of the struggle for peace, says Jagland.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee criticizes China for the treatment of Liu in a statement.
– There lays a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of Chinese authorities for Liu Xiaobo’s premature death, they state in an announcement from the committee’s current chairman Berit Reiss-Andersen.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today