Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was China’s most prominent human rights and democracy advocate, has died aged 61, officials say. He was born on December 28, 1955, in Changchun, a city in northeastern China.
Liu Xiaobo Cause of Death
The Chinese judicial bureau said Liu died Thursday of multiple organ failure. Liu had terminal liver cancer and had been granted parole in June after his diagnosis but remained under virtual house arrest.
Liu had been transferred from prison last month, where he was serving an 11-year term for “subversion.” His final days were spent surrounded by just doctors, brothers and his wife, Liu Xia.
Liu was a famed Chinese dissident who won the Nobel Peace Price while jailed for his pro-democracy writings. A university professor turned rights campaigner, Liu was labeled as a criminal by Chinese authorities. He had long championed democracy, free expression and constitutionalism since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. He had been jailed on four separate occasions.
When Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, the committee saluted his “long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”
Chinese officials did not allow Liu’s family and close friends to attend his Nobel ceremony in Norway’s Oslo City Hall. It is said that many of them still face daily threats, detentions and intimidations.
“This fact alone shows that the award was necessary and appropriate,” said Nobel committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland when the award was presented in 2010. Liu’s medal and diploma were put on an empty chair as a result.
His ceremony marked the first time a Nobel Peace Prize recipient was barred from attending the event since 1936, when Nazi Germany did not let German journalist Carl von Ossietzky from traveling to Oslo to claim his prize.
Liu published his first book — a critique of Confucianism called “Criticism of the Choice: Dialogues with Li Zehou” — in 1987. It went on to become a best-seller. He received a PhD in 1988 and went on to be a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York, the University of Oslo and the University of Hawaii.