Legendary Democracy Activist, Nobel Laureate and Political Prisoner Liu Xiaobo Dies
Chinese democracy activist and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, whose 2010 Nobel Peace Prize awarded while he was behind bars infuriated the authoritarian regime in Beijing, has died after being granted controlled released in late June for local treatment of late-stage liver cancer.
Liu, 61, had been sentenced to 11 years in prison on Christmas Day 2009 for being one of the writers of 2008's Charter 08 declaring that "political democratic reforms cannot be delayed any longer," including separation of powers, free markets, human rights protections, and freedom of speech, assembly, and religion. His lawyers were allowed to argue his case for only 14 minutes. The charge was "inciting subversion" against the communist state.
His first incarceration was a two-year sentence in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square protests. In response to Liu's Nobel prize, the Chinese government placed his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest, where she remains without charge. Chinese government censors blocked love poems the two tried to exchange with each other. "I found all the beauty in the world in this one woman,” Xiaobo once said of Xia.
"I still want to say to this regime, which is depriving me of my freedom, that I stand by the convictions I expressed in my 'June Second Hunger Strike Declaration' twenty years ago ‑ I have no enemies and no hatred," Liu said in a Dec. 23, 2009, statement. "...Hatred can rot away at a person's intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society's tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation's progress toward freedom and democracy. That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation's development and social change, to counter the regime's hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love."
"...I firmly believe that China's political progress will not stop, and I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future free China. For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme."
Liu dreamed of a China "where the speech of every citizen will be treated equally well; where different values, ideas, beliefs, and political views ... can both compete with each other and peacefully coexist; where both majority and minority views will be equally guaranteed, and where the political views that differ from those currently in power, in particular, will be fully respected and protected; where all political views will spread out under the sun for people to choose from, where every citizen can state political views without fear, and where no one can under any circumstances suffer political persecution for voicing divergent political views."