Switzerland 'deeply saddened' by Liu's death

Jul 15, 2017, 00:30
Switzerland 'deeply saddened' by Liu's death

Any means. This "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs" wisdom received a reality check with the news of the death of Chinese human rights activist, dissident and Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo on Thursday.

Paintings of empty chairs referenced the empty seat at Liu Xiaobo's 2010 ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize, which the Chinese government refused to release him to receive.

Already seriously ill, Liu, a thorn in the ruling Communist Party's side since he helped negotiate a deal to allow protesters to leave Tiananmen Square before troops and tanks rolled in, was moved last month from prison to a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang.

U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson had also called on the Chinese government to "release Liu Xia from house arrest and allow her to depart China, according to her wishes".

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein urged China to guarantee his widow, Liu Xia, freedom of movement, and allow her to travel overseas should she want to.

A plainclothes Chinese security guard attempts to stop a photographer from taking photos of an apartment building where Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese dissident and Nobel Prize victor Liu Xiaobo, has been living under house arrest in Beijing on July 14, 2017.

Meanwhile, the United States and the European Union paid tribute to Liu Xiaobo as it urged President Xi Jinping's government to let his wife, the poet Liu Xia, under house arrest since 2010, leave the country.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters Wednesday that Liu, who is suffering from advanced liver cancer, has asked to leave with his wife for treatment overseas.

Mo Shaoping, Liu Xiaobo's lawyer, said there was no legal reason for China to prevent Liu Xia from leaving the country.

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"Despite enduring years of persecution, suppression and imprisonment, Liu Xiaobo continued to fight for his convictions", Shetty said.

In a sign of China's growing confidence, the state-controlled Global Times newspaper said in an English-language editorial that "the West has bestowed upon Liu a halo, which will not linger".

As Liu Xiaobo remained behind bars until recently, Liu Xia, 56, had paid a heavy price for simply being his wife.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Liu Xiaobo has died in Chinese custody at the age of 61.

The 1989 pro-democracy protests centered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, by Liu's account, were the "major turning point" of his life.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday that the United Nations chief sent his condolences to Liu's family and friends. In the same statement Liu had prepared for his trial, he addressed his wife.

In May 2017, Liu was diagnosed with liver cancer. But whereas Xi vaguely defined this dream as working toward a stronger Communist Party-controlled country, she defined it as the kind of democratic China that Liu had strived for. He is the first Nobel Peace Prize victor to die in state custody since 1938, when German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky died after years in Nazi Germany's concentration camps. Some critics warned that the treatment of Mr. Liu has marred China's worldwide reputation and tarnished the legacy of President Xi Jinping, who has taken a hard line against dissidents.

The Chinese embassy in Oslo explained that a visa could not be granted to meet a deceased person and that it would require an invitation from either Liu's widow or relative, NRK reported. Though President Barack Obama raised the issue of Liu's detention shortly after the activist won the Nobel Peace Prize, he too shied away from commenting on it at other times, and threatened to veto a Senate bill that would have renamed the street in front of the Chinese Embassy "Liu Xiaobo Plaza".

House Foreign Affairs subcommittee chairman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said Beijing is responsible for the recent death of Chinese dissident and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.

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