China's Most Famous Political Prisoner Liu Xiaobo Dies at 61

China's Most Famous Political Prisoner Liu Xiaobo Dies at 61

China's Most Famous Political Prisoner Liu Xiaobo Dies at 61

Mr Liu was handed an 11-year prison term for calling for sweeping political reforms in a manifesto entitled "Charter 08".

The agency said Liu was placed in intensive care on Monday and he died on Thursday due to multiple organ failure caused by liver cancer.

Those pleas were supported by governments and human rights organizations around the world, with German and US hospitals offering to treat him immediately.

Officially, Liu gained medical parole but he was under guard in a hospital and still a captive, the New York Times reports.

- 2010 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE - The honor is bestowed on Liu in recognition of his peaceful struggle for human rights and democracy, although, imprisoned, he is unable to attend. At the ceremony, he was represented by an "empty chair". He was the second Nobel laureate to die in prison since 1938, when pacifist Carl von Ossietzky died protesting the Nazi Germany regime.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang rejected all appeals to the Chinese government to allow the dissident to go overseas for medical treatment.

The U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, said "China has lost a deeply principled role model who deserved our respect and adulation, not the prison sentences to which he was subjected".

"China's refusal to honor Liu Xiaobo's last wish to travel overseas for treatment and its decision to hold him incommunicado during his dying days are a cruel epitaph in the tale of a powerful regime's determination to crush a courageous man", she said. He would endure another three years in a labor camp in the mid-1990s for having the temerity to call for a dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader. Liu had been a visiting scholar at Columbia University in NY but returned early to China in May 1989 to join the movement that was sweeping the country and which the Communist Party regarded as a grave challenge to its authority.

Some activists shared a picture of a black screen with the years 1955-2017 - his lifespan - or of a single candle superimposed over his face.

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Instead, Liu made a decision to remain in China and effect change from within, ABC News reported. "Western mainstream society is much less enthusiastic than before in interfering with China's sovereign affairs", it said.

In a document written on the day of his trial titled "I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement", Liu said, "I hope that I will be the last victim of China's endless literary inquisitions and that from now on, no one will be incriminated because of speech". "Your unfulfilled wish is our mission".

In a statement on Liu's death, rights group Amnesty International said: "Today we grieve the loss of a giant of human rights. We must do all we can to end Liu Xia's illegal house arrest and surveillance, and ensure that she is no longer persecuted by the authorities".

The Nobel committee said in a statement that the Chinese government bears "heavy responsibility" for his "premature death". The United States also said it was willing to take him in.

Family friend and fellow dissident Hu Jia said the authorities would not let him die in peace.

"But I think the historic message they are leaving is very different".

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

Charter '08, issued in 2008, reflected an apparent shift in China at the time toward becoming more open to liberal ideals, said Beijing-based historian and political commentator Zhang Lifan.

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