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Chinese dissident, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies at 61

13 Juillet 2017

In response to calls to allow Liu to leave China, the foreign ministry repeatedly said other countries should not interfere in China's internal affairs, using the same line on Thursday before his death was announced.

Asked whether the Chinese government had contributed to Liu's death by preventing him from receiving treatment for late-stage liver cancer overseas, Ai said: "China showed how brutal its society can be".

"We understand the Chinese hospital treating Nobel Peace Prize laureate and writer, Liu Xiaobo, has invited US, German medical experts to China for medical consultations". Liu was the third Nobel laureate to receive the peace prize while under arrest or under house arrest.

"We have no way to hear from her directly by him or his family, but after the release of the hospital (...) it is possible that Liu Xiaobo would not survive the next 24 hours", told AFP the dissident Ye Du, a close to the 2010 Nobel prize.

Liu had been hospitalized for advanced liver cancer diagnosed in prison in May.

An infuriated Beijing tried to block the news and boycott the award, insisting that Liu was a common criminal and the prize was nothing more than a Western plot against China. The artist and activist Ai Weiwei wrote on Twitter: "Liu Xiaobo is gone, rest in peace".

Liu's illness had elicited a deluge of sympathy from friends, Chinese rights activists and worldwide groups, who saw him as a fearless advocate of peaceful democratic change.

Xiaobo, China's most prominent dissident, was serving an 11-year prison term for "subversion" and had been transferred from the prison to the hospital last month.

Liu, who is reportedly being held under guard, has asked to be flown out of China for treatment in either Germany or the US.

US oncologist Joseph Herman from the University of Texas' MD Anderson Cancer Center and German doctor Markus Buchler of Heidelberg University said last week that moving Liu to an overseas hospital would be feasible.

Liu fought for a more open and democratic China years after the Communist Party came to power in 1949, clamping down on free expression. Other activists reported online that some half-dozen supporters who had traveled to Shenyang were no longer contactable. RFA was unable to confirm this report independently, however.

Washington expressed its concern as 61-year-old Liu's condition worsened Wednesday, with his hospital stating he suffered respiratory failure and his liver function had deteriorated.

Liu was arrested in 2008 after co-writing Charter 08, a bold petition that called for the protection of basic human rights and reform of China's one-party Communist system.

Liu, a former professor, had helped negotiate with the military for the safe passage of students during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest.

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

"China has already taken the feelings of relevant Western forces into consideration, and has no obligation to meet their unreasonable demands", it said.

Chinese dissident, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies at 61