ShareThis Page
Fans of Nobel laureate express sorrow, anger over his death |

Fans of Nobel laureate express sorrow, anger over his death

The Associated Press
| Thursday, July 13, 2017 11:00 p.m
In this image taken from June 3, 2008, video footage by AP Video, Liu Xiaobo speaks during an interview before his detention in Beijing, China. The judicial bureau in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang says jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has died of multiple organ failure Thursday, July 13, 2017, at age 61. (AP Video via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO — World leaders and human rights advocates expressed sorrow and anger Thursday over the death of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died in police custody while being treated for advanced liver cancer in prison.

They also condemned the Chinese government for refusing the political prisoner’s wish to travel overseas for treatment. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was among those urging the Chinese government to release Liu’s wife from house arrest and to leave the country.

Liu, 61, was a literary critic and writer who came to prominence in 1989 after he encouraged pro-democracy students to leave Beijing’s Tiananmen Square rather than face down armed soldiers. Liu was imprisoned four times, the most recently for co-writing a document circulated in 2008 that called for more freedom of expression, human rights and an independent judiciary in China.

He was in prison when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize in 2010 for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

Renee Xia, international director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a network she said Liu helped found, said the mood among her colleagues has been one of despair over his impending death and disappointment that leaders did not do more.

“When we spoke to each other people would start crying. There was this sense of, it was just a dark world,” Xia said. “Where are the moral leaders? Where are the values of human rights and human dignity and freedom?”

University of San Francisco law professor and immigrant rights’ advocate Bill Ong Hing said it was tragic to lose such a widely admired figure. Hing’s father immigrated to the U.S. from China.

“The fact is he was not free to do and say and appear where he wanted. It’s a stark reminder of the constraints that people in China have who are critical of the government,” he said.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush praised Liu in a statement, calling him a courageous man who “never wavered in his quest to advance freedom and democracy.”

Wang Dan, a prominent leader of the movement on Tiananmen Square, tweeted that governments worldwide must press for Liu Xia to be allowed to leave China, where she has been held under extralegal house arrest.

Wang wrote, “Xiaobo, my beloved teacher, my dear brother, you accepted too much hardship, rest easy.”

Tillerson urged China to let Liu Xia leave. He said her husband dedicated his life to improving China and humankind and to pursuing justice and liberty.

Suzanne Nossel, head of the U.S. arm of the international literary and human rights organization PEN International, faulted Chinese officials for not heeding calls to allow Liu to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“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 brave man who dared challenge a government that sustains its rule through suppression and fear,” Nossel said.

Chinese authorities said the government made “all-out efforts” to treat Liu and rejected foreign criticism of its handling of his illness.

In Hong Kong, prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong tweeted, “We will strive to carry forward his legacy to fight for democracy in HK and China.”

Internationally acclaimed artist and activist Ai Weiwei tweeted:

“Rest in peace. We are here, Xiaobo is here with us.”

Categories: World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.