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Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo dies at 61

13 July 2017

China's Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo died on Thursday aged 61 after losing a battle with cancer, authorities said, more than a month after he was transferred to a hospital from prison.

Liu's friends have voiced suspicion over the hospital's statements, which suggest a worsening of his condition soon after two foreign doctors said he was well enough to travel overseas. It heightened pressure on Beijing, which has resisted appeals from several nations to let Liu and his family go. He was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on May 23 and given medical parole.

"I urge the Chinese authorities to guarantee Liu Xia's freedom of movement, and allow her to travel overseas should she wish so", he said.

But the government has warned against interference and has said Liu is being treated by renowned Chinese cancer experts.

"Liu was sentenced to 11 years in jail on December 25, 2009, after a local court in Beijing convicted him of agitation aimed at subverting the government", it said.

The relatives of the chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo lived Wednesday in anguish about the fate of the Nobel prize of the peace, sick of a cancer in terminal phase, Beijing refusing until after his departure for overseas.

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After three days of intensive therapy, "the patient is in respiratory failure", said the university Hospital no. 1 in Shenyang (north east China), stating in a press release have been explained to the family the need for intubation "to keep alive", but that the latter had refused.

Chinese leaders face two unpalatable choices, analysts say. Thanks to Liu Xiaobo, millions of people in China and across the world have been inspired to stand up for freedom and justice in the face of oppression.

"It is our deep conviction that Liu Xiaobo will remain a powerful symbol for all who fight for freedom, democracy and a better world", Berit Reiss-Andersen, head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said Thursday in a statement on its website.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that Liu "dedicated his life to the betterment of his country and humankind" and "died while serving a lengthy prison sentence in China for promoting peaceful democratic reform". In the 1990s, China began releasing some political prisoners.

Liu's plight has already drawn public protests in the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong.

Although numerous Charter 08 signers were interrogated, only Liu was arrested and charged with trying to overthrow the government. That's the only chance we have right now. Liu's peaceful activism and biting criticism of one-party rule meant he had spent nearly a quarter of his life behind bars.

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Liu's biographer and friend, the USA -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.

Nobel Peace Laureate and Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo has died.

Another difference is that China's economy today is about 40 times its size back in 1989, and so is its military spending.

Liu Xia was permitted to care for her dying husband during his short stay in the hospital, and photos revealed the mingled joy and sorrow they felt at seeing each other again under circumstances they both knew would be tragically temporary. Its update Monday appeared to highlight his deteriorating condition. "With his courage and dignity, he inspired millions of activists globally", Amnesty International said in a statement.

"China's refusal to honor Liu Xiaobo's last wish to travel overseas for treatment and its decision to hold him incommunicado during his dying days are a cruel epitaph in the tale of a powerful regime's determination to crush a fearless man", she said. "From learning of the approval for the Lius to travel, we could have the medevac there in 48 hours".

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Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo dies at 61