Rep. Smith: Beijing is responsible for human rights activist's death

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Liu Xiaobo, who was an internationally renowned literary critic, writer, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died in the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang, northern China, on Thursday after German and American specialists failed to save him.

For that, he said, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but also received subversion charges and an 11-year prison sentence.

But he said he wasn't optimistic that the ruling Chinese Communist Party would allow Liu Xia to take up Germany's invitation.

The Chinese hospital treating Liu Xiaobo says the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate has respiratory failure and his condition is now life-threatening. The Nobel Committee have said that "the Chinese Government bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death". China's most prominent political prisoner died Thursday of liver cancer at 61.

On Friday, there were signs that having condemned Liu to nearly a quarter of his life behind bars, China's leaders were also seeking to control his funeral. Under de facto house arrest since his Nobel win, Liu Xia saw her communication with the outside world nearly completely cut by the government. His conviction in late 2009 stemmed from his co-authorship of a manifesto calling for human rights and political reform in China.

A drawing of Liu and his wife
A drawing of Liu and his

However, Cohen said he feared Beijing's persecution of the dissident's wife, Liu Xia, would continue as it fought to prevent her becoming a symbol of political resistance and freedom of expression. "We call on relevant countries to respect China's judicial sovereignty and not to meddle in China's domestic affairs with this individual case".

In recent days, supporters and foreign governments urged China to allow him to be treated for cancer overseas, but Chinese authorities insisted he was receiving the best care possible. It was a fearless fight that Liu fought.

Close friends said they were anxious for her well-being, with reports that she had already lost both parents in the previous year and had suffered from depression and a heart condition.

"Hatred can rot a person's wisdom and conscience", Liu said in a statement he prepared for the trial.

When Liu Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia, visited him in prison to give him news of the award, "His first reaction was not happiness or pride", Yu Jie recalls.

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Liu's biographer and friend, the USA -based dissident Yu Jie, believes that China's government had a motive to withhold or delay treatment: It feared the consequences of Liu getting out of prison alive.

Only days after the publication of Charter 08, Liu, as the main initiator, was arrested.

Xi has been leader of China since 2013 and oversaw the country during four years of Liu's detention.

Bearing anti-communism posters, flowers, and candles, two dozen people from the Chinese and Tibetan community held a small memorial outside the Chinese Embassy in Sydney on Friday, to honour the life of human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.

Nicolas Benquelin, the director of the Asian program at Amnesty International said his treatment showed China was still a brutal regime.

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"Tonight, together with everyone that cares about human rights in China, we mourn the tragic passing of Liu Xiaobo".

Hu Jia, a fellow dissident and family friend, said Liu Xia's freedom was now a top priority for Liu Xiaobo's supporters.

His doctors said that Liu Xia was by her husband's side when the moment finally came. Nineteen measures were itemized with the aim of improving China's human rights situation. "You can say we tolerated and indulged the Chinese government to kill him". "By granting him the Nobel Prize, the West has "kidnapped" Liu".

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