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BREAKING NEWS: China’s Civil Rights Leader Dies As a Political Prisoner

Liu Xiaobo Dies

A chair sat empty for Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo in Oslo in 2010. The rights activist was imprisoned in China in 2009.

Heiko Junge/AFP/Getty Images

Prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo, the only Chinese citizen ever to be awarded a Nobel Prize while still residing in China, has died at age 61. Liu died Thursday while on medical parole in northeastern China’s Shenyang city, where he was being treated for liver cancer. He was serving an 11-year prison sentence for trying to overthrow the government.

By the time Liu, a scholar and human rights advocate, was diagnosed in late May, his liver cancer was already in its late stages. Chinese authorities released video footage intended to show that Liu had been receiving good medical care, and they invited U.S. and German doctors to treat him. But Beijing rejected calls to allow him to seek treatment overseas.

Liu’s biographer and friend, the U.S.-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.


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