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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo Dies in Custody in China

Despite amazing progress toward a free-enterprise society,
China still governs itself from Communist paranoia

Jailed in 2009 for 'inciting subversion of state power,' he was being treated for liver cancer
Thomson Reuters

A protester displays portraits of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong on Wednesday. (Vincent Yu/Associated Press)

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has died after suffering multiple organ failure, says the government of the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, where he was being treated for late-stage liver cancer.

The Shenyang legal bureau said in a brief statement Thursday on its website that efforts to save the 61-year-old had failed.

In 2009, Liu was sentenced to 11 years behind bars for "inciting subversion of state power" after he helped write a petition known as Charter 08 while calling for sweeping political reforms.

The following year, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the Norway-based committee for his work in China in advancing human rights. He was represented at the ceremony by an empty chair. The move greatly angered the Chinese government, which did not normalize relations with Oslo until earlier this year. 

Liu was recently moved from jail to a hospital in Shenyang. His supporters and foreign governments had urged Beijing to allow him to receive treatment abroad, but Chinese authorities insisted he was receiving the best care possible for a disease that had spread throughout his body.

Beijing did allow two foreign doctors, from the U.S. and Germany, to visit Liu on Saturday.

The head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee lauded Liu's accomplishments while blaming China for his "premature death." 

Liu "will remain a powerful symbol for all who fight for freedom, democracy and a better world," Berit Reiss-Andersen said in a statement.

"The Chinese government bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death."

An empty chair represents Liu at the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in December 2010. Liu was jailed in 2009 for writing his call for political reform in China. (Toby Melville/Reuters)