China's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo dies aged 61

China's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo dies aged 61

China's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo dies aged 61

"Hitler was wild and strong and thought he was right - but history proved he was wrong in imprisoning a Nobel Peace Prize victor", said Mo Shaoping, an old friend and Liu's former lawyer.

The Nobel Committee said: "The Chinese Government bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death". "Liu's ideas and his dreams will persist, spread, and will, one day, come to fruition".

"What happened to Liu Xiaobo tells the whole world about the human rights situation in China", said pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung.

Along with activists Hou Dejian, Gao Xin and Zhou Tuo, Liu was dubbed a "junzi", or gentleman, for his leading role in the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

A university professor turned tireless rights campaigner, Mr Liu was branded a criminal by authorities. But when the Tiananmen student democracy protests began, he rushed back to China to support the protesters. On June 4, Chinese troops entered the square and massacred demonstrators. It is unclear how many were killed by the military but estimates ranged from scores to thousands.

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American journalist Nicholas Kristoff called Liu "the Mandela of our age" in a heartfelt open letter in The New York Times on Saturday. He is detained on October 8, 2008, and sentenced a year later to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion of state power.

Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland looks down at the Nobel certificate and medal on the empty chair where Nobel Peace Prize victor jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo would have sat during the ceremony at Oslo City Hall on December 10, 2010.

Liu's biographer and friend, the US -based dissident Yu Jie, believes that China's government had a motive to withhold or delay treatment: It feared the consequences of Liu getting out of prison alive.

To many, Liu represented hope for a freer China with more room for dissent.

The head of the Nobel committee placed Liu's prize on an empty chair to symbolize his absence from the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, that year. Liu Xia has been under tight surveillance and largely isolated, despite not being charged for a crime.

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A member of the Australian Tibetan community holds a placard during a candlelight vigil for the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo outside the Chinese consulate in Sydney on July 12, 2017.

The Chinese intellectual and activist is the first Nobel peace prize victor to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, the 1935 recipient, who died under surveillance after years confined to Nazi concentration camps.

"Although no one action can undo the turmoil the Liu's have suffered over the past 28 years, it is not too late to do the right thing and to allow this man and his wife to spend their last days together according to their wishes", Sen.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China to let Liu Xia leave. He is now survived by his wife, Liu Xia, sentenced under house arrest since 2010. "Secondly, he has been the biggest threat inside of China, and they want to get rid of him".

"Liu Xiaobo's death is a tragedy and a deep affront to the basic notions of justice and human dignity". He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power". He hasn't been heard publicly since.

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"For hatred is corrosive of a person's wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation's spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society's tolerance and humanity, and block a nation's progress to freedom and democracy", Liu wrote.

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