China Says Awarding Nobel Peace Prize To Liu Xiaobo Was 'Blasphemy'

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 14, 2017

Liu, 61, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power" after he helped write a petition known as "Charter 08" calling for sweeping political reforms.

Australia is urging China to release the wife of Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo following the Chinese dissident's death.

Rights groups and Western governments had urged China to allow Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, to leave the country to be treated overseas, as Liu had said he wanted. "I think the authorities are afraid of seeing even the simplest last words from him get out and spread".

But the government had warned repeatedly against interference and said Liu was being treated by renowned Chinese cancer experts.

"The Chinese government's arrogance, cruelty, and callousness are shocking-but Liu's struggle for a rights-respecting, democratic China will live on", said Human Rights Watch's China director Sophie Richardson.

"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 in an emailed statement.

Liu was only the second Nobel Peace Prize victor to die in prison, a fact pointed to by human rights groups as an indication of the Chinese Communist Party's increasingly hard line against its critics. But officials insisted that Liu was receiving treatment from top Chinese doctors since being granted medical parole following his diagnosis in late May.

"Now, we are most concerned about Liu Xia, but there has been no information about her".

The EU urged Beijing to let Liu Xia and his family bury him "at a place and in a manner of their choosing, and to allow them to grieve in peace". Time and again they tried to silence him, and time and again they failed.

Across the closely monitored cyberspace in China, some internet users have evaded the censors to post lines from Liu Xia's poems that were dedicated to her late husband - with verses from "Wind" among the most popular: "Walls make you suffocate / you are wind, and wind / never tells me / when it comes and when it goes". "By letting a Nobel peace prize victor die in custody they lost a chance to show humanity and instead proved their cold-blooded nature".

Many held signs reading "The people's hero, he'll always be remembered", "the murder of a dissident" and "free Liu Xia".

Domestic media outlets, all controlled by the ruling Communist Party, mostly ignored the news, with a photo of a beaming President Xi Jinping meeting his Canadian counterpart dominating the front page of the party mouthpiece People's Daily.

Earlier, Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had praised Liu and called for his wife to be released.

A White House official said on Wednesday that Trump raised Liu's case in a July 2 telephone call with Xi, while the USA national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, raised it with his Chinese counterpart at the G20 meeting last week.

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