Lawmakers say world owes debt of gratitude to Liu Xiaobo

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2008

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others in Washington mourned the death of the long-imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a Communist Party-affiliated newspaper in Beijing said the Nobel peace prize laureate had been "kidnapped" by the West and bestowed with "a halo which will not linger".

Friends of China's most prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo have accused the Chinese Government of violating human rights after the activist died of multiple organ failures brought on by liver cancer.

China lashed out Friday at global criticism after it denied Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo's dying wish to leave the country and faced pressure to set the democracy champion's widow free.

China responded by lodging "stern representations" with countries that made remarks about Liu Xiaobo, including the United States, expressing its firm opposition, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing.

His most recent prison sentence stemmed from his co-authorship of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform and human rights in China.

Liu Xia had been living under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel prize, but had been allowed to visit him in prison about once a month.

Liu Xiaobo had held fast to his belief that a single-party dictatorship was not the best path for China, but rather democracy, a separation of powers and the rule of law. "By letting a Nobel peace prize victor die in custody they lost a chance to show humanity and instead proved their cold-blooded nature".

She urged China to grant its citizens democratic rights and freedoms, saying, "We hope the mainland Chinese authorities will display the self-confidence to grant the people of mainland China the natural right of democracy and freedom and open up new prospects for relations" between China and Taiwan.

A bill to change the address of the embassy from "3505 International Place" to "1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza", has been submitted by Senator Ted Cruz several times since 2014, but to date has not passed.

Japan's government says it will continue to pay close attention to human rights in China after the death of its most famous political prisoner.

The German and American doctors who were allowed to see him during his last days reported that Liu, days before his death, had clearly communicated his wish to leave China for treatment elsewhere.

That elicited a response from Pelosi, who said, "Dr. Link, I don't think it's going to take 200 years, I think right now is the contribution; the legacy of Liu Xiaobo will certainly eclipse the authoritarians of China".

Almost seven years ago, neither Liu nor her husband's supporters foresaw the repercussions the award would have on her: a writer and artist who never considered herself a political person, who unflinchingly supported Liu Xiaobo but never actively participated in his campaigns.

"She was not part of our group of dissidents", Hu Jia, a Beijing-based activist and friend of Liu Xiaobo, told AFP.

Global human rights groups, Western governments and Chinese activists had urged authorities to free Liu and grant his final wish to be treated overseas. Now neither the foreign ministry nor Foreign Minister Børge Brende is making any comment at all on Liu's death.

"Now, we are most concerned about Liu Xia, but there has been no information about her".

He is credited with saving lives in the Tiananmen Square student protests of June 1989, which ended in bloodshed when they were quashed by government troops.

"Naturally we are anxious about Liu Xia right now, because she has been suffering from depression and heart disease in the years since Liu Xiaobo went to prison", Poon told RFA. "She surely feels the opposite of grief", said the former Amnesty International leader to NRK.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg has all but turned her back on criticism of how she has handled the illness and death of Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo.

Liu Xia told Reuters that he wanted to dedicate his prize to all those who died in the Tiananmen crackdown.

"It is a sad and disturbing fact that the representatives of the free world, who themselves hold democracy and human rights in high regard, are less willing to stand up for those rights for the benefit of others", she said in a statement.

"I'm asking for political reform, asking for human rights, freedom and democracy", Ms Ai said.

Even though the Norwegian Nobel Committee is independent of the government, Beijing froze diplomatic ties with Oslo as a result of Liu winning the peace prize.

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