A prominent Chinese dissident has died of advanced liver cancer despite international efforts to save him.
Liu Xiaobo, who was an internationally renowned literary critic, writer, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died in the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang, northern China, on Thursday after German and American specialists failed to save him.
As he passed “peacefully”, his final words to his wife, poet Liu Xia, and other relatives were “live on well”, media reported.
Xiaobo, 61, who was regarded as a Gandhi-style dissident, was for decades involved in anti-government campaigns in China.
Rise to fame
Liu rose to fame in literary circles with his literary critiques while he was still a youth. Then, eventually he became a visiting scholar at several foreign universities.
In 1989, when he was 33 years old, he returned to China to take part in an emerging anti-government movement and supported the Tiananmen Square protests against Communism.
He was imprisoned for his anti-government activities from 1989 to 1991.
From 1995 to 1996 and from 1996 to 1999, he was imprisoned for the second and third time for his involvement in the anti-Beijing movement.
On December 8, 2008, Liu was detained due to his participation with the Charter 08 manifesto. He was formally arrested on June 23, 2009 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” He was tried on the same charges on December 23, 2009, and sentenced to eleven years’ imprisonment.
During his fourth prison term, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”
Liu became the first Nobel Peace laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938.
His death has met with international outcry.
Critics say Liu’s treatment was too little and too late and he should have been transferred out of the country for better prognosis.