February 21, 2018

China media: Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo 'led astray by West'

15 July 2017, 12:44 | Kara Nash

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China has pushed back against a wave of global censure over the death of democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo, telling the world to stay out of its "domestic affairs" and labelling the 2010 decision to award the late activist a Nobel peace prize "a blasphemy".

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

Former Amnesty International Norway leader Petter Eide claimed that Prime Minister Erna Solberg reacted with relief when informed of the death of Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo in China. The Ministry further remarked that conferring the peace prize upon him in 2010 was a "blasphemy".

Officials announced Liu's terminal liver cancer last month, and moved him to a hospital in Shenyang under high security but refused to release him for treatment overseas.

On July 13, Liu Xiaobo, China's most outspoken dissident, died of liver cancer after receiving medical parole from a jail sentence awarded in 2008. China's state-controlled Global Times said in an editorial that "the West has bestowed upon Liu a halo, which will not linger".

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on China to free Liu's widow, the poet Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since 2010 but was allowed to be with him at the hospital.

However, Cohen said he feared Beijing's persecution of the dissident's wife, Liu Xia, would continue as it fought to prevent her becoming a symbol of political resistance and freedom of expression. It is his spirit that will live on although world leaders seemed to have been overpowered by China into a submissive state right through to the day that the writer, social thought leader and creator of a manifesto on constitutional reform was terminally ill and passed on.

Turkish writer Elif Shafak hailed Lui "a fearless 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".

Activists in China, while speaking to AFP, said Xia's parents passed away previous year, which led to her suffering from depression.

Now, in a controversial step sure to anger Beijing, and to honour Mr Liu, some of his closest friends and colleagues are renewing calls for greater democracy in China.

When Liu Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia, visited him in prison to give him news of the award, "His first reaction was not happiness or pride", Yu Jie recalls.

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The hospital reported that Liu, who has advanced liver cancer, is also suffering from renal failure and septic shock, and that blood clots have formed around his body.

Suga declined to go into detail on that point, but said the Japanese government has been "communicating to China our thoughts on the issue of Liu Xiaobo through various routes".

"Liu's last days were politicized by the forces overseas".

In most Chinese reports on Liu's death, there was no mention of his Nobel prize.

In that case, Yu says, "He would [have] become a standard-bearer for China's democratization and civil society".

President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were among Western leaders offering praise for Liu.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters Wednesday that Liu, who is suffering from advanced liver cancer, has asked to leave with his wife for treatment overseas.

Ai said of his friend, "I think Liu Xiaobo will be remembered as an individual, a strong mind, with his belief, and as a courageous fighter, believing in democracy and freedom of speech".

"We are really, really sad and really angry at the Chinese government", memorial organiser Mike Zhong told SBS World News.

"No government should let the death of Liu Xiaobo pass without challenging Beijing's mistreatment of this critical voice for human rights, calling for Liu Xia's freedom, and pressing for the release of all those wrongfully detained across China", HRW China director Sophie Richardson said in a statement. "That is why they tried to keep her quiet", he said.

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