‘No enemies’: the life-long advocacy of China’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident


Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is seen in this undated photo released by his families.

BEIJING (Reuters) – During a hunger strike days before the Chinese army crushed the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement on June 4, 1989, the man who would become China’s best known dissident, Liu Xiaobo, declared: “We have no enemies.”

When being tried in 2009 on charges of inciting subversion of state power for helping write Charter 08 – a pro-democracy manifesto calling for an end to one-party rule – Liu reaffirmed: “I have no enemies and no hatred.”

He was sentenced to 11 years in prison that same year, drawing protests from the United States, many European governments and rights groups, which condemned the stiff sentence and called for his early release.

Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Liu, 61, died on Thursday of multiple organ failure, the government of the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang said. He was being treated in a hospital there, having been admitted in June after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer.

His wife, Liu Xia, had told Reuters previously that her husband wanted to dedicate the Nobel prize to those who died in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

“He said this prize should go to all the victims of June 4,” Liu Xia said, after she was allowed to visit him in jail following the announcement of the prize.

“He felt sad, quite upset. He cried. He felt it was hard to deal with.”

Liu Xia had been living under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel prize, but had been allowed to visit him in prison about once a month. She suffers from depression.

She was allowed to be with him in the hospital where he spent his last days.

Charter 08

Liu had been a thorn in Beijing’s side since 1989, when he helped negotiate a deal to allow protesters to leave Tiananmen Square before troops and tanks rolled in.

“Using the law to promote rights can only have a limited impact when the judiciary is not independent,” Liu told Reuters in 2006, when he was under house arrest, in comments typical of those that have angered the government.

Charter 08 alarmed the Communist Party more for the 350 signatures – dignitaries from all walks of life – he collected than its content, political analysts said.

The manifesto was modeled on the Charter 77 petition that became a rallying call for the human rights movement in communist Czechoslovakia in 1977.

Liu had ceaselessly campaigned for the rights of the Tiananmen Mothers of victims of the crackdown.

He was much better known abroad than at home due to a government ban on internet and state media discussion of the Tiananmen protests, and of him, aside from the odd editorial condemning him. Liu was considered a moderate by fellow dissidents and international rights groups. But they say the Communist Party is insecure and paranoid, fearing anyone or anything that it perceives as a threat to stability.

In 2003, Liu wrote an essay, calling for the embalmed corpse of Chairman Mao Zedong to be removed from a mausoleum on Tiananmen Square. Mao is still a demigod to many in China.

Over the years, Liu won numerous human rights and free speech awards from organizations including Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and Hong Kong’s Human Rights Press Awards.

His books have been published in Germany, Japan, the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Hero to Some, Traitor to Others

A hero to many in the West, Liu was branded a traitor by Chinese nationalists.

He had come under fire from nationalists for his comments in a 2006 interview with Hong Kong’s now-defunct Open magazine in which he said China would “need 300 years of colonization for it to become like what Hong Kong is today”.

The government considered him a criminal.

“For Liu Xiaobo, whatever the United States says or does is right, and whatever the Communist Party says or does is wrong,” a source with ties to the leadership said.

“It’s too absolute,” said the source, who declined to be identified.

Liu’s critics were suspicious of the motives of the Nobel Peace Prize committee, noting that Liu praised the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

He had also been taken to task domestically because non-governmental organizations he headed received funding from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy.

The third of five boys, Liu was born in Changchun, capital of the northeastern province of Jilin, on Dec. 29, 1955.

His father, Liu Ling, taught Chinese literature at Northeast Normal University. His mother worked at a kindergarten affiliated with the university.

In 1970, at age 15, Liu was with his parents when they were sent to a labor camp in the region of Inner Mongolia at the height of the Cultural Revolution.

Liu worked briefly as a plasterer at a state-owned construction company in Changchun in 1976. After the Cultural Revolution, China resumed national university entrance examinations which Liu passed.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in Chinese literature from Jilin University and obtained his master’s and doctorate degrees from Beijing Normal University.

Reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Robert Birsel and Alex Richardson

Source: Reuters “’No enemies’: the life-long advocacy of China’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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17 Comments on “‘No enemies’: the life-long advocacy of China’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident”

  1. Simon says:

    The one country that is please Liu Xiaobo has passed away is probably Norway. Since they award that bogus peace prize to this trouble maker they regretted it every day and suffered economic sanction from China. They are hoping move on from this troublesome episode.

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  2. Bankotsu says:

    A useful idiot of the west passes away. R.I.P.

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  3. Steve says:

    Liu is short-sighted. It’s surprising for a bloke who obtained master’s and doctorate degrees in Chinese literature, he wants to rope China into the dark abyss of 300 years of colonisation. The Spanish alone ruled over Philippines for 333 years, followed by the US before gaining independence in 1946, leaving the Filipinos confused, yet proudly regarding PH as the 51st US state.

    He has to be suffering from chronic mental disorder praising US sponsored genocide in Iraq and invasion of Afghanistan. He definitely has a passion and inclination for violent social behaviour. In his abnormal mind, he probably praised Japanese invasion in WW11. It is clear he is uncaring
    with shallow emotions for his own people.

    Unfortunately, for his high intellectual ability especially in Chinese literature, he has forgotten that One should always seek from within not outside. China is an Autocracy not a democracy. It’s centralised not decentralised. He wants to do away with Chinese culture, he is extremely egocentric and failed to learn from experience. He thinks the world revolves around Liu Xiaobo.

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    • Steve says:

      American and German doctors declared Liu was fit enough to travel abroad a few days ago. Liu Xiaobo has just passed away. These international doctors must be blindsided. Are these spy doctors or just careless diagnosis, when Chinese doctors declared Liu unfit to travel.

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      • Simon says:

        They are American agents not doctors.

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        • Steve says:

          Just wondered who paid the airfares and accommodation for these American/German doctors. After claiming Liu is fit to travel, he died.

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          • Simon says:

            CIA. The same bunch of goons that financially supported insurgent terror groups such as Free Tibet, World Uighur Congress, ISIS, Al Qaeda, IRA, etc.

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            • Steve says:

              Just imagine this 2 foreign doctors have being paid thousands of dollars for their medical expertise. All they did was stand next to the patient, check medical records and prescriptions.

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    • Reader says:

      It is visible to many today, that once independence or sovereignty is achieved, especially in countries with large Confucianist societies such as those in Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Japan and now China, development comes fairly quickly. So much unlike the neglect and exploitation during the colonial period; Especially Malaysia and Singapore under British colonial rule although to be fair, the British did show the way by example and knowledge before independence and guidance after independence in the case of Singapore and Malaysia. Nevertheless, all these does say that East Asians, with education, are capable of learning quickly and advancing rapidly to narrow the gap with Western societies. We are now in our children’s generation. Come our grandchildren’s generation, East Asians should be on equal footing with their Western counterparts.

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  4. Simon says:

    Just a few days ago American and German doctors visited the traitor Liu Xiaobo and declare to the media that he is fit to travel abroad for treatment against Chinese doctors orders that the patient is too sick to travel. Secret videos shows these western doctors saying the treatment Liu was getting in China is as good as anywhere in the world. When found out these western doctors cried foul, more likely they have been ordered to say so by the political authority in Washington.
    My immediate thought was if Liu was fit enough to travel then he is fit enough to go back in prison. Obviousely he is too ill to travel because if he had aboarded a plane he would have died during flight. The motive of Western government is to bring Lui Xiaobo’s body to America for burial and use his grave as some kind of morbid pilgrimage for anti China sympathiser. China was right in both political and humanitarian ground to keep Lui in China by denying the West to use Lui’s body as a propaganda tool.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Simon says:

    Liu advocate China being colonised by Western powers for 100yrs to do away with anything that is Chinese. In another word turn China into Washington’s puppet. No wonder the West loves him. Today every economies in the world is looking towards China for leadership. If you want a Washington run regime and how they are progressing look no further than Phillipines. Japan is not a example of benefit from being Western administered because its people already learned their culture and work ethics from the Chinese and was already striong and prosperous before they became America’s puppet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fre Okin says:

    China think Liu harmed China’s internal security, especially Tibet and Xinjiang. His agenda threatened to break up China due to separatist movements.

    Liu’s, is just an idealist academic with no real world exposure to politics, governance of a complex big country, other than his presence in Tiananmen Square. Nobody disagree China need multi party system. China do have multi party system now, just that they operate under very strict rules making it hard for these parties to gain traction
    .
    If Liu is truly a Chinese patriot, he should volunteer to strengthen China’s security. He don’t need to be a Commie party member. He can be just an ordinary Chinese citizen, get a group of people, go to Xinjiang and Tibet to educate them about the good things the Chinese government is doing for them instead of being misled by anti PRC forces.

    So China think his priorities are misplaced and deserved to be locked up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fre Okin says:

      Liu is just from Planet Ignoramus. He should be ashamed of himself for not understanding enough about Chinese recent history and the basis of the hardline CCP position.

      Liu should go to the Old Summer Palace (being there!) in Beijing and see shame inflicted on the Chinese during the Opium War. It is against this backdrop the Chinese government is fearful of ideas that can lead to weakening of China, repeating history.

      As I wrote elsewhere here, Liu should have volunteer to help the government, not as a Communist, but as a patriotic Chinese to help educate the Tibetans and Xinjiang to encourage them to integrate into China instead of trying to secede which a multi party system will give them opportunity to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tyler Reber says:

      I think their are western examples that caused similar fear to western governments, but dealing with them is handled differently. In the US, it’s typically, its called a threat to national security, which means anything that undermines state power. For example, Martin Luther King was labeled by the FBI as the number one threat to national security, nevermind the death threats he received. It’s hard to believe that his ideals or peaceful protests alone were the reason to award him such a title, being more likely the amount of influence he carried which rivaled, if not surpassed, any amount of influence under control of state power, used to force changes from the government.

      Today, any movement driven by the people, such as the occupy protests, are met with large scale propaganda campaigns in the dominant right wing media, to discredit any popular movement driven by ordinary people.

      Alternatively, the US does have other influential intellectuals who speak critically of the US government, and as far as I know have been left alone, though in a media black list to try and minimize public exposure as much as possible, such as in the case of Noam Chomsky, even though he was labeled as the worlds leading intellectual.

      I don’t know exactly what Liu xiaobo human right ideologies are, but I’m certain the only reason western countries want him popular is because he’s not from the west. Does that make him a unwilling tool to help direct hatred towards america’s enemies?

      Liked by 1 person

      • alking1957 says:

        FBI in US does this all the time- befriend their target, then provide support to d terrorist acts or violence, then entrap the target and send target to jail for very long time. May be China na should learn from that

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