Archive for July 13th, 2017

Liu Xiaobo, 1955-2017: “Hatred can rot a person’s wisdom and conscience.”

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
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With his wife in happier times.

Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the 2010 Nobel peace prize while in prison, died today of liver cancer, in a hospital under guards. He was 61. From the New York Times:

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The Chinese government revealed he had cancer in late June, only after the illness was virtually beyond treatment. Officially, Mr. Liu gained medical parole. But even as he faced death, he was kept silenced in the First Hospital of China Medical University, still a captive of the authoritarian controls that he had fought for decades.

He was the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in state custody since Carl von Ossietzky, the German pacifist and foe of Nazism who won the prize in 1935 and died under guard in 1938 after years of maltreatment.

His cancer announced last month – too late to treat – and while it did offer him parole, it did not offer him freedom or a visit from his wife:

The police in China have kept Mr. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest and smothering surveillance, preventing her from speaking out about Mr. Liu’s belated treatment for cancer.

“Can’t operate, can’t do radiotherapy, can’t do chemotherapy,” Ms. Liu said in a brief video message to a friend when her husband’s fatal condition was announced. The message quickly spread online.

“Hatred can rot a person’s wisdom and conscience,” Mr. Liu said in a statement he prepared for his trial for subversion shortly before he was awarded the Nobel. “An enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation and inflame brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a country’s advance toward freedom and democracy.”

He was not allowed to receive the 2010 award, of course, and was represented by an empty chair. We wrote about that here. We’ve written elsewhere about this peacemaker here and here and here.
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“Language gets its beauty by making truth glow in the darkness.”

– Liu Xiaobo, 1955-2017