Thursday, July 13, 2017

China’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo Dead At 61, After Years Of Imprisonment. “Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.”

NB: The Chinese Communist Party should hang its head in shame at this brutal judicial murder of one of China's gentlest and kindest souls, whose only crime was that he wanted freedom and democracy for the Chinese people and had the temerity to demand a dialogue with the Dalai Lama. In fact he was punished for asking the Chinese government to implement its own Constitution, under which - Article 35 - China's citizens enjoy “freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”It is an indication of the brittle nature of totalitarianism that it so fears the power of the human mind that it can sentence political dissidents to a living hell rather than allow them to speak freely. Communists and socialists the world over should reflect on how much their campaigns for democratic rights are compromised by association with such criminal dictators as are ruling the so-called People Republic. 

Rest in Peace Liu Xiaobo. Democrats the world over will  always remember you and your sacrifice. We mourn for you and your brave wife and friends. Down with tyrants. DS

Devotion amid despair: the great contemporary love story of Liu Xia and Liu Xiaobo
“Even if I were crushed into powder, I would still use my ashes to embrace you"
Liu Xia and Liu Xiaobo
Liu Xia was placed under house arrest when her husband was given the Nobel 
peace prize in 2010. ‘Kafka could not have written anything more absurd than this,’ 
she said. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

“Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom in where to live, and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate, and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes.. Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.”

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and political dissident Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer on Thursday after almost a decade of imprisonment by the Chinese government on charges of sedition, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse report. He was 61. The Chinese literary critic, lecturer and human rights activist was a leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. After the brutal crackdown on demonstrators, a friend drove Liu to the front gate of the Australian Embassy and said if he entered, he could seek asylum. Instead, Liu decided to remain in China and effect change from within, ABC News reported.

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His Nobel Prize ceremony did powerfully mark a moment that exposed China’s strange vulnerability
Obituary BBC: Liu Xiaobo
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China tells world to stay out of its 'domestic affairs' over Liu Xiaobo's death
having condemned Liu to a quarter of his life behind bars, China’s leaders were seeking to control his funeral.

For his participation in the student protests, Liu spent two years in prison. He would endure another three years in a labor camp in the mid-1990s for having the temerity to call for a dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader. “Liu Xiaobo is one of China’s most prominent prisoners of conscience,” the Dalai Lama said in a June 2017 statement. “It is my belief that the initiatives he took, and for which he has been severely punished, would have led to a more harmonious, stable and prosperous China, which in turn would have contributed to a more peaceful world.”

Liu served as the president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center from 2003 to 2007 and was also the former president of Minzhu Zhongguo (Democratic China) magazine. Then, in 2008, he drafted “Charter 08,” a pro-democracy manifesto that received thousands of signatures from Chinese dissidents and their supporters. In response, Beijing determined he was guilty of “inciting subversion.” “The government is trying to tell us to stop trying to push for human rights and democracy in China,” Xu Youyu, a former philosophy professor and Charter 08 signer, told The New York Times. “Secondly, he has been the biggest threat inside of China, and they want to get rid of him.” Although many of the Charter 08 signers were interrogated, only Liu was arrested and charged with trying to overthrow the government. In late 2009, a Beijing court sentenced him to 11 years in prison for undermining state authorities by calling for political reforms.

In 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Since the Chinese government viewed him as a criminal, Liu was never allowed the opportunity to collect his prize. At the Nobel presentation ceremony, he was represented by an empty chair. According to The Telegraph, Beijing was infuriated by the Nobel committee’s decision to honor Liu, and censored the live broadcast of the ceremony. Former President Barack Obama, the previous year’s laureate, hailed Liu as a representative of “universal” values and urged Chinese authorities to set him free.

Despite Liu’s international acclaim, few people in China know anything about him or his work, Hu Jia, a Beijing-based dissident and friend of Liu’s, told Reuters. Earlier this month, Chinese authorities granted Liu a medical parole and moved him from prison to a hospital. He was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in June, BBC News reported. Journalist Bill Bishop said Liu’s death in state custody would likely affect the international perception of China and might cause the U.S. to take a hard-line policy toward the country.

“I believe the last Nobel Peace Prize laureate to be effectively killed by his own government was Carl [von Ossietzky], in Germany in 1938. Does Xi care that the likely precedent here for Beijing will be pre-World War II Nazi Germany?” Bishop wrote on his blog Sinocism.  Liu’s wife, artist Liu Xia, has been under strict house arrest since her husband was honored with the Nobel Prize in 2010, The New York Times reported. Although photos recently released by hospital authorities showed her by Liu’s bedside, authorities refused to grant them permission to leave the country so he could seek better health care. In Charter 08, Liu described freedom as a basic universal value. “Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom in where to live, and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate, and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes,” Liu wrote. “Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.”

Liu Xiaobo, China's most famous political prisoner, 'close to death' // Liu Xiaobo's unbearable fate is stark symbol of where China is heading
The Chinese Communist Party has established a tyranny over its citizens. It brutally punishes those who call for democracy and for adherence to its own constitution. Its cruelty towards the brave individuals who insist on the freedom of conscience is an indicator of totalitarianism; and the Partys' fear of truthful speech. The treatment of Liu is a barbarity that must be condemned. It is hard to believe that the wife of a dying man and he himself could be such a threat to the Chinese super-power that even their brief meeting would need to be so severely curtailed: "In the past three years, Liu Xia has not been allowed to deliver her letters to her husband when visiting him. Liu Xiaobo used to be able to receive his wife's letters from his lawyers through her younger brother Liu Hui. Now, the prison simply returns the unread letters to her. During the past three months, his lawyer has even been refused visits with him." All those who stand for democracy and human rights should support the struggle for democracy in China. If Liu passes away his death will be one more act of criminality committed by the CCP: DS

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NB: The Chinese Communist Party has always been terrified of the truth. They choose to crush those of their citizens who uphold their own constitutional rights. Clearly these rights are meant as face-cream for a repressive and authoritarian regime that can't face the truth about itself. This is not new, it was the case during the Bangladesh crisis of 1970-71, and during the Naxalite movement, when they supported the genocidal Yahya Khan regime and kept the facts from their own people. Democrats the world over should support this brave lawyer.  Down with totalitarianism. DS