China Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies aged 61 in custody - Politics | PoFo

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The Guardian wrote:China is facing a barrage of international criticism for its treatment of the Nobel laureate and democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo, who died at the age of 61 on Thursday.

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Liu, who championed non-violent resistance as a way of overcoming “forceful tyranny”, had been serving an 11-year jail sentence for demanding an end to one-party rule when he was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May.

He died of multiple organ failure while under guard at a hospital in north-east China, making him the first Nobel peace prize winner to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, the 1935 recipient, who died under surveillance after years confined to Nazi concentration camps.

News of Liu’s death sparked an immediate outpouring of international mourning and condemnation. His peaceful activism and biting criticism of one-party rule meant he had spent almost a quarter of his life behind bars.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, paid tribute to “a courageous fighter for civil rights and freedom of opinion”.

The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said he mourned the loss of a man who had dedicated “his life to the betterment of his country and humankind, and to the pursuit of justice and liberty”.

The leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the prize, said the Chinese government – which had stopped Liu travelling abroad for treatment despite appeals from world leaders – bore “a heavy responsibility for his premature death”.

“We find it deeply disturbing that Liu Xiaobo was not transferred to a facility where he could receive adequate medical treatment before he became terminally ill,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen.

The British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said he was deeply saddened by the “huge loss” of the “lifelong campaigner for democracy, human rights and peace” and attacked Beijing for denying Liu and his family the chance to seek medical treatment overseas.

“Liu Xiaobo should have been allowed to choose his own medical treatment overseas, which the Chinese authorities repeatedly denied him. This was wrong and I now urge them to lift all restrictions on his widow, Liu Xia.”

One of the most forceful attacks on the authoritarian regime of China’s president, Xi Jinping, came from his Taiwanese counterpart, Tsai Ing-wen, who paid tribute to a “human rights warrior”.

Tsai said Liu had striven to transform China into a nation where human rights and the rule of law were respected. “This was Liu Xiaobo’s Chinese dream,” Tsai said, alluding to Xi’s central propaganda slogan.

“We hope that the Chinese authorities can show confidence in engaging in political reform so that the Chinese people can enjoy the God-given rights of freedom and democracy … Only through democracy, in which every Chinese person has freedom and respect, can China truly become a proud and important country.”

Liu Xiaobo was famed for his Gandhian “no enemies” philosophy – but there was rage as well as grief among his friends as news of his death spread.

“I hate this government,” said the author and activist Tienchi Martin-Liao, breaking down in tears as she learned of her friend’s death. “It is not only sadness – it is fury. How can a regime treat a person like Liu Xiaobo like this?

“This is unbearable. This will go down in history. No one should forget what this government and the Xi Jinping administration has done. It is unforgivable.”

The writer and activist Mo Zhixu, said he felt “bitter hatred”. “It is so cruel and inhuman.”

Hu Ping, a friend of almost three decades who edits a pro-democracy journal called the Beijing Spring, said: “Liu Xiaobo is immortal, no matter whether he is alive or dead. Liu Xiaobo is a man of greatness, a saint.”

Hu said his friend’s plight highlighted the bleak realities facing activists living under Xi, who has presided over what observers call the most severe political chill since the days following the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

“I think the situation in China now is deteriorating – and the way in which Liu has been treated clearly shows us what the current situation is, and how it goes beyond our imagination.”

Born in the northern province of Jilin in 1955, Liu was part of the first generation of Chinese students to go to university after they reopened following the upheaval of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. He studied Chinese literature and went on to become a revered writer and public intellectual.

When pro-democracy protests broke out in Beijing in the spring of 1989, Liu was lecturing in New York but decided to return despite having previously shown little interest in politics.

“He thought: ‘This is where I should be and this is where I can make a contribution. So I am going there’,” said Perry Link, a Chinese literature expert from the University of California, Riverside, who knew him.

Liu flew back to Beijing and headed to Tiananmen Square, where he played a central role in the protests. He led a hunger strike shortly before the 4 June military crackdown in which hundreds, possibly thousands of lives were lost. He was jailed for almost two years for his role in what Beijing called “counter-revolutionary” riots. The experience served as a political awakening that transformed Liu into a lifelong activist and champion of democracy.

Over the coming years Liu continued to speak out, despite two more stints behind bars, railing incessantly against China’s authoritarian regime in essays and interviews.

The “crime” that led to Liu spending his final years behind bars was Charter 08, a 2008 declaration inspired by Charter 77, a manifesto published by Czechoslovakian dissidents in 1977. “The current system has become backward to the point that change cannot be avoided,” it warned, calling for an end to one-party rule.

Authorities did not approve. Hours before it was due to be published, Liu, who had been one of the document’s drafters, was detained at his Beijing home. The following year he was handed an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”.

“The charter was the first public document since 1949 to dare to mention the end of one-party rule,” said Link. “But of course the problem with having an influence is that the crackdown has been effective. A lot of young people don’t know about the charter and don’t know about Liu Xiaobo now.”

In 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”. He was represented at the award ceremony by an empty chair. When he was informed of his victory he reportedly said: “I dedicate this prize to the lost souls of 4 June,” in reference to the victims of the Tiananmen massacre.

Human rights and democracy campaigners saw Liu’s Nobel prize as a triumph for their cause. But for his wife, the poet and artist Liu Xia, with whom he had fallen in love during the 1990s, it was a catastrophe. She was immediately placed under house arrest and has spent recent years living in almost total isolation, under constant surveillance.

“She is a wonderful woman. A really wonderful woman,” says Jean-Philippe Béja, a French academic and longstanding friend. “I don’t even dare to imagine how she feels now.”

Eva Pils, an expert in Chinese law and human rights from King’s College London, said Liu Xiaobo would be remembered for his “wise and forceful” style of political resistance. Supporters had been counting the days until his expected release from prison in 2019. “Now this is extremely disappointing,” she said. “Naturally, I, like many others, had been counting down to the time of his release. It’s so unfair.”

Link said Liu would be remembered as “a stubborn truth-teller” and someone who opened “the possibility of a different kind of China”.

“That is a lasting legacy. The model of how an independent intellectual stands up to the state will be admired if it is not completely obliterated.”

Béja said Liu’s ideas would continue to inspire, long after his death. “It’s always very hard to evaluate the impact of a thinker or of an actor but I am sure that – despite all the efforts by the party – he won’t be forgotten.”

The Guardian

I can't believe that nobody on this forum has discussed on the event yet.
Igor Antunov wrote:He died from late stage liver cancer. He was released from home detention and sent to hospital the day he was diagnosed. International specialists were even called in. This is an untreatable illness.

I think I would summarize things as follows:

1. He actually served his sentence in prison.
2. Both himself and his wife applied for treatment abroad, but their requests were not favorably replied.
3. If the illness is untreatable, why would it happen in the first place? Did the imprisonment induced such thing? Is it right for the Chinese Communist Party regime to lock him up in the first place?
4. Is the international community too cowardly in response to the whole thing?
Patrickov wrote:4. Is the international community too cowardly in response to the whole thing?

It's a bit much to "respond" to every Tom, Dick and Liu that dies of cancer. I dare say there were some perfunctory condemnations here and there but what would that accomplish anyway? It's not like Chinese hardmen are going to do anything but sneer in contempt at the soft and wet trembling of the bleeding hearts of decadent western pig-dogs in response.

No one is going launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike over this, so what else do you want?
SolarCross wrote:It's a bit much to "respond" to every Tom, Dick and Liu that dies of cancer. I dare say there were some perfunctory condemnations here and there but what would that accomplish anyway? It's not like Chinese hardmen are going to do anything but sneer in contempt at the soft and wet trembling of the bleeding hearts of decadent western pig-dogs in response.

No one is going launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike over this, so what else do you want?

Maybe provoke the Chinese to launch some kind of invasion such that they can be legitimately defeated?

On a side note, why does any intervention need to be done by governmental bodies anyway? Why there are people voluntarily fight in the Middle East (without government support) but not in China?
Igor Antunov wrote:Like they were defeated in Korea, or in the Spratly's?

Spratly is partially true, and then Arunachal in some sense.

Those are very small places though. The target has to be at least as big as Japan to make this work.

Igor Antunov wrote:McCain, is that you?

I wish I could be as fat and stupid as him, then I don't have to worry about the corrosion of freedom and procedural justice in Hong Kong.
Rugoz wrote:China executes thousands of people every year. Just saying.

You are very correct, but...
1. I am not deifying Liu Xiaobo. I am just questioning the correctness of locking him up.
2. Your point isn't really relevant. CCP executes people for many reasons, but dissidents are usually kept alive, either by imprisonment, house arrest or many other means. Direct murder, while occasionally done, is viewed as a very low-rank act even in CCP standard.
Good Riddance.

China should had executed this man a long time ago, the only reason he got noble prize is because he licked the right right boots while dehumanizing entirre Chinese people. Chinese Alexander Solzhenitsyn if you will. I mean we are talking about a man who championed the cause of colonizing China for 300 years ffs. And he got noble for this. :lol:
Igor Antunov wrote:After reading up on this guy, it seems he was an epic douchebag; promoting colonization of China, calling his own ethnicity less than human for not adopting western neoliberalism, etc. Good riddance. The amount of attention fake western news is giving him is indicative of his character.

In recent weeks, Nobel prizewinner Liu Xiaobo's politics have been reduced to a story of a heroic individual who upholds human rights and democracy. His views are largely omitted to avoid a discussion about them, resulting in a one-sided debate. Within three weeks, in Hong Kong, for example, more than 500 articles were published about Liu, of which only 10 were critical of the man or peace prize.

In China, before the award, most people neither knew nor cared about Liu, while, according to Andrew Jacobs, writing in the International Herald Tribune, an "official survey of university students taken since the prize was awarded found that 85% said they knew nothing about Mr Liu and Charter '08." A Norwegian Sinologist has elicited comments from Chinese people and indicated that younger Chinese still do not care about Liu. Older Chinese intellectuals are interested in discussing the award, but many do not think Liu is an appropriate recipient.

Imprisoning Liu was entirely unnecessary. If Liu's politics were well-known, most people would not favour him for a prize, because he is a champion of war, not peace. He has endorsed the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and he applauded the Vietnam and Korean wars retrospectively in a 2001 essay. All these conflicts have entailed massive violations of human rights. Yet in his article Lessons from the Cold War, Liu argues that "The free world led by the US fought almost all regimes that trampled on human rights … The major wars that the US became involved in are all ethically defensible." During the 2004 US presidential election,Liu warmly praised George Bush for his war effort against Iraq and condemned Democratic party candidate John Kerry for not sufficiently supporting the US's wars:

[T]he outstanding achievement made by Bush in anti-terrorism absolutely cannot be erased by Kerry's slandering … However much risk must be endured in striking down Saddam Hussein, know that no action would lead to a greater risk. This has been proven by the second world war and September 11! No matter what, the war against Saddam Hussein is just! The decision by President Bush is right!

Liu has also one-sidedly praised Israel's stance in the Middle East conflict. Heplaces the blame for the Israel/Palestine conflict on Palestinians, who he regards as "often the provocateurs".

Liu has also advocated the total westernisation of China. In a 1988 interview he stated that "to choose westernisation is to choose to be human". He also faulted a television documentary, He Shang, or River Elegy, for not thoroughly criticising Chinese culture and not advocating westernisation enthusiastically enough: "If I were to make this I would show just how wimpy, spineless and fucked-up [weisuo, ruanruo, caodan] the Chinese really are". Liu considered it most unfortunate that his monolingualism bound him in a dialogue with something "very benighted [yumei] and philistine [yongsu]," the Chinese cultural sphere. Harvard researcher Lin Tongqi noted that an early 1990s book by Liu contains "pungent attacks on the Chinese national character". In a well-known statement of 1988, Liu said:

It took Hong Kong 100 years to become what it is. Given the size of China, certainly it would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like what Hong Kong is today. I even doubt whether 300 years would be enough.

Affirming this sentiment in Open magazine in 2006, he added that progress in China depends on westernisation and the more westernisation, the more progress. While his supporters excuse Liu's pro-colonialism as a provocation, it logically aligns with his support for total westernisation and US-led regime changing wars.
Liu, in his "Charter '08", called for a Western-style political system in China and privatisation of all enterprises and farm land. Not surprisingly, the organisations he has headed received financial support from the US government's National Endowment for Democracy. Studies show, however, that where transitions to electoral democracy occur in countries with low levels of average wealth, the rule of law does not necessarily follow, but instability and low levels of development do. Neither does electoral democracy deliver good governance, nor even sustain itself under such conditions.

Nowhere in the post-communist or developing world has there been the fair privatisation Liu claims to seek. Privatisation in eastern Europe often led to massive thefts of public property by oligarchs and became deeply unpopular, with strong majorities of people in all post-Communist countries wanting its revision. Privatisation is also disliked in India, Latin America and China itself, while studies of privatisation in many parts of the world show it can have a deleterious effect on development. Land privatisation in China would rapidly create land concentration and landless peasants.
Forty years ago, a Nobel prize committee upheld formerly imprisoned writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn as a symbol of freedom against the Soviet regime. As with Liu, it may have been unaware of or chose to ignore Solzhenitsyn's classically reactionary views: his own version of authoritarianism, an animus toward Jews, denunciation of the US for not pursuing the war in Vietnam more vigorously, condemnation of Amnesty International as too liberal, and support for the Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco.

The Nobel peace prize is a prize for politics of certain kind. The Norwegian Nobel Institute director has noted that the Nobel Committee has most often selected "those who had spoken out ... against the Communist dictators in Moscow and the dictators in Beijing." French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre recognized the Nobel prizes' role in the Cold war and refused to accept one in 1964. He stated: "In the present situation, the Nobel Prize stands objectively as a distinction reserved for the writers of the West or the rebels of the East." That role has been continued with Liu's prize.

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