Political prisoner, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies

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The supervising physicians of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died of liver cancer at a Chinese hospital while still under police custody, said on Friday that they did everything they could to save his life.

"Switzerland regrets that Liu's peaceful use of the right to free speech led to a prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power", and that his family was refused access to him during the detention".

"Since Liu's medical parole was made public, the Chinese side has been focusing on Liu's treatment, but some Western forces are always attempting to steer the issue in a political direction, hyping the treatment as a "human right" issue", it said.

In a statement the Norwegian Nobel Committee said it was "deeply anxious about Liu Xia's situation" and called upon the Chinese authorities to "lift all restrictions they have put upon her".

And his final months, after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May and granted medical parole, drew global calls for his release.

"It is outrageous that the Chinese authorities waited until Liu Xiaobo's cancer was in the terminal stage before treating him in hospital", RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

"The West has bestowed upon Liu a halo, which will not linger", it said. "I call on the Chinese government to release Liu Xia from house arrest and allow her to depart China, according to her wishes", he said.

Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Germany would continue to push for a "humanitarian solution" for Liu Xia.

Ranked near the bottom of RSF's World Press Freedom Index (176th out of 180 countries), China is one of the world's biggest prisons for journalists and civil rights activists. His compatriots still based in China, though unable to speak so freely, found creative ways to mourn Liu on the social media platform Wechat. The hospital treating Liu said that he was suffering from respiratory and renal failure, as well as septic shock, and that his family had decided against inserting a breathing tube necessary to keep him alive.

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Another friend, Zhang Huanping, said she had also not heard from her. "Xiami, your pain, persecution, loneliness and helplessness go without saying", Zhang tweeted, referring to Liu Xia by her nickname.

"It is hard believe the Chinese prison authorities were so incompetent as to not notice a cancer developing in such a high-profile detainee as Liu Xiaobo".

"Liu lived in an era when China witnessed the most rapid growth in recent history, but he attempted to confront Chinese mainstream society under Western support".

Only days after the publication of Charter 08, Liu, as the main initiator, was arrested. But whereas Xi vaguely defined this dream as working toward a stronger Communist Party-controlled country, she defined it as the kind of democratic China that Liu had strived for.

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.

"CHRD urges the global community to do everything possible to free Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo's wife and the love of his life", the group said in a statement on its website.

USA and German cancer experts visited Liu last weekend and issued a statement on Sunday saying he was still strong enough to fulfil his wish to be treated overseas, contradicting their Chinese counterparts.

At a regular press briefing Friday afternoon, Geng said China has conveyed its "strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition" to all governments and worldwide entities that commented on Liu's death, including the United States and the UN's human rights commission. "It's a persecution, it's a violation of human rights", she said.