By: Brian Kim
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
BEIJING, China – Chinese Nobel Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, died on July 13th from multiple organ failure. Liu was a prominent Chinese dissident who participated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.
In 2009, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his work with crafting “Chapter 08,” a manifesto calling for political reform in China. The Chinese government sentenced him to prison for “inciting subversion of state power.”
While serving his time at Jinzhou Prison in 2010, Liu was named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” However, the Chinese government did not allow him to travel to accept the award and attempted to block the news inside the country. The Nobel organizers placed his award on an empty chair during the award ceremony in his honor.
Due to his illness, Liu was transferred to a hospital in the city of Shenyang to receive treatment. Despite facing much pressure from the international community, China refused to allow Liu to travel abroad to receive treatment.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee recently condemned the Chinese government for not allowing Liu Xiaobo to receive medical treatment abroad. Berit Reiss-Andersen, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated that “the Chinese Government bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death.”
Many people, including Amnesty International’s Nicholas Bequelin, described his death as “one of the most crude, cruel and callous political show(s) I have ever witnessed.”
Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest and has not been allowed to communicate with the outside world since Liu Xiaobo received the award. Since his death, thousands of people gathered in Hong Kong to hold a vigil for Liu and asked the Chinese government to free Liu Xia.
Carl von Ossietzky, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was the last winner to die under government surveillance. He died in Berlin in 1938.
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