Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) Chinese Human Rights Activist & Writer, Passed Away(Obituary)

Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波December 1955 – 13 July 2017), Chinese literary critic, writer, human rights activist passed away July 13 2017 in Beijing. On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer at the hospital. He was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms 2010 and was involved in campaigns to end communist single-party rule. He was incarcerated as a political prisonerin Jinzhou, Liaoning.

Liu rose to fame in literary circles with his literary critiques and he eventually became a visiting scholar at several overseas universities. He returned to China to support the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and was imprisoned for the first time from 1989 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 1996 and he was imprisoned for the third time from 1996 to 1999 for his involvement in the democracy and human rights movement. He served as the President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, from 2003 to 2007. He was also the president of Minzhu Zhongguo (Democratic China) magazine since the mid-1990s. On 8 December 2008, Liu was detained due to his participation with the Charter 08 manifesto. He was formally arrested on 23 June 2009 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. He was tried on the same charges on 23 December 2009, and sentenced to eleven years’ imprisonment and two years’ deprivation of political rights on 25 December 2009.

Members of Nobel Peace Prize comittee applaud next to the empty chair where Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo should sit during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, December 10, 2010. Photo by  REUTERS/Will Burgess/Files

During his fourth prison term, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” He was the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China. Liu is the third person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison or detention, after Germany’s Carl von Ossietzky (1935) and Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi (1991). Liu was also the second person to have been denied the right to have a representative collect the Nobel Prize for him and to die in custody, with the first being Ossietzky who died in Westend hospital in Berlin-Charlottenburg after being detained in a Nazi concentration camp.

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