Political prisoner, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies

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Political prisoner, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies

The Nobel-winning writer and human rights activist died of liver cancer Thursday evening while in custody at a hospital in Shenyang in northeastern China.

Liu became the first Nobel Peace laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938.

The ministry earlier hit back at criticism of Beijing's treatment of Mr Liu, saying: "The handling of Liu Xiaobo's case belongs to China's internal affairs, and foreign countries are in no position to make improper remarks".

Answering a barrage of questions on Friday over the death of Liu, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had lodged protests with certain countries for interfering in its judicial sovereignty.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen released a statement late Thursday on the death of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

The newspaper had tweeted a since-deleted message in Chinese on Sina Weibo - Twitter's equivalent in China - mocking the worldwide reactions to Liu's death: "The person's gone but a blockbuster tear-jerker is just on - we'll sit back and enjoy the show". He was in the midst of an 11-year prison sentence when he won the prize.

For now, Liu Xiaobo remains largely unknown in his own country, and his name has been erased from the country's Chinese-language media and Internet. "So, a dissident not only needs to learn how to oppose oppression, but also how to face the crackdowns, and time in prison", Liu told reporters from Hong Kong. He suggested that the death of Liu removes another thorny issue for the Norwegian government, like whether he should have been invited to Norway at the risk of angering China once again.

Western governments criticized Beijing for not allowing him to seek treatment for his cancer overseas and called on China to loosen its restrictions on dissent. Chinese authorities eventually allowed doctors from Germany and the United States to treat him.

For those who wonder if the world could've done more to help Liu in life, there is one final opportunity to celebrate his aspirations for freedom. "That showed his earnest hope in the society's transformation and the country's democratization", said Hu Jia, a Chinese rights activist and friend of Liu and his family.

Ai said Liu is one of many dissidents being oppressed in China.

A half dozen people receiving treatment or waiting on rows of metal chairs at the First Hospital of China Medical University said they had never heard of the man whose plight was making worldwide headlines.

"CHRD urges the global community to do everything possible to free Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo's wife and the love of his life", the group said in a statement on its website.

Activist Chen Guangcheng wrote on Twitter: "By torturing and killing Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese Communist authorities have blocked all possibilities of progress".

Liu Xiaobo was not the charter's main author - but of its roughly 300 signatories, he drew the heaviest punishment.

Liu Xiaobo was a professor spurred to activism by the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and negotiated the safe passage of hundreds of students from the square.

The police have kept his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest, preventing her from speaking out about Liu's death and his belated treatment for cancer.

"Even if he could live longer, he would never have achieved his political goals that are in opposition to the path of history".

"They even see our insistence on basic human rights as making trouble for the Chinese Communist Party", he said.

The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "deeply saddened" to learn of the death of imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiabo.

During his last hours, Liu was accompanied by his wife, Liu Xia, and several relatives who were very grateful for the hard work of the doctors and nurses, said the doctor.

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