Fact Box: China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo

Jul 14, 2017 09:56 IST

China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo diesChina's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo passed away on 13 July 2017 after battling with cancer while still in custody. He was 61 and is survived by his wife.

After his death, Liu became the second Nobel Peace laureate who died in custody. The first one was Ossietzky who died in a Nazi concentration camp.

With the death of Liu, the human rights movement in China and across the world has lost a principled champion who devoted his life to defending and promoting human rights and who was jailed for standing up for his beliefs.

Life of Liu Xiaobo

He was born on 8 December 1955 in Jilin Province in northeast China.
Initially, Liu started out as an extremely sharp literary critic in Beijing in the 1980s. He was called a 'dark horse' who bridled at intellectual conformity, even in the name of reform.
In 1989, he was a visiting scholar at Columbia University when students in Beijing occupied Tiananmen Square to demand democratic changes. He returned to Beijing to support the protests.
Liu was arrested for the first time in 1989 for supporting the Tiananmen Square protests and spent 21 months in detention. The Communist Party labelled him as 'black hand'.
His later support was for American government policies, including the invasion of Iraq which also brought scorn. But he was unbowed.
Liu was most recently arrested in 2008, after he helped initiate Charter 08, a bold petition calling for democracy, the rule of law and an end to censorship.
In 2009, a court in Beijing tried and convicted Liu on a charge of inciting subversion. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
By the time of the trial, Liu was already China’s best-known dissident.
His fame grew even more when he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.

China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies

However, Liu was unable to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in person in Oslo in 2010 as he was imprisoned.
In June 2017, he was released from prison on medical parole for his treatment of cancer.
On 13 July 2017, he died of multiple organ failure.

China criticized over death of Liu Xiaobo
In June 2017, the Chinese authorities revealed that Liu had advanced liver cancer. Following this, he was granted medical parole and was transferred from prison to a heavily-guarded hospital to be treated for late-stage liver cancer .
The Beijing government refused to let him seek treatment overseas despite Liu's wishes and international pressure.
Chinese authorities eventually allowed doctors from Germany and the United States to treat him.
However, despite intensive care, Liu suffered multiple organ failure and died.
However, it was believed that if Liu was provided with overseas treatment, he could be saved.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee criticised that the Chinese government bears a heavy responsibility for Liu's premature death and also accused the free world of ignoring his case.

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