By Tenzin Monlam
People in Hong Kong mourning the Death of Liu Xiaobo.
DHARAMSHALA, July 14: The Norwegian Nobel Committee has said China bears a heavy responsibility for the ‘premature’ death of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
“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, Chair of the Nobel committee.
“The Chinese Government bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death,” she said.
The most prominent Chinese human rights advocate was announced dead by the hospital in Shenyang, where he was being treated.
Liu was out on a medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and soon appeals for him to get proper medical treatment abroad grew. However, the Chinese officials had from time to time denied him the permission to travel by citing that he was too weak to travel despite family members claiming otherwise.
The President of Central Tibetan Administration (Sikyong) Dr. Lobsang Sangay expressed his condolences saying his heart breaks on hearing the news. “My heart breaks to hear of Liu Xiaobo’s passing. I have been following the reports very closely. I, on behalf of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, offer my condolence and wish his wife Liu Xia much strength and resolve in these difficult times,” said President Sangay.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said, “The human rights movement in China and across the world has lost a principled champion who devoted his life to defending and promoting human rights, peacefully and consistently, and who was jailed for standing up for his beliefs.”
Similarly, Terry E Branstad, the US Ambassador to China said that China has lost a ‘deeply principled role model’ who deserved the world’s respect and adulation and not the prison sentence. “We call on China to release all prisoners of conscience and to respect the fundamental freedoms of all,” he said in his condolence message.
Liu, a former professor of literature at Beijing Normal University, was arrested numerous times – he was jailed for 21 months for his role in 1989 Tiananmen Square protest; for three years in 1996 for his human rights activities; and in 2008 for drafting a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08.
A year later on June 23, 2009, he was arrested on suspicion of ‘alleged agitation activities aimed at subversion of the government’ and on December 9, 2009 he was charged with ‘incitement of subversion of state power’. Subsequently, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Since winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, his wife has been kept under house arrest without any contact with outside world. The Amnesty International also called for the end of ‘shameful and illegal house arrest of Liu Xia’.
Liu is a strong supporter of Tibetan cause and has authored a number of articles and was instrumental in drafting and signing the 12-point suggestions submitted to the Chinese authorities in 2008 on how to resolve the long-standing issue of Tibet.