Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo dies in custody, struck by liver cancer

World reacts with praise, sadness to Liu death

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei says China's imprisonment of ailing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is "a shame for the Chinese government and a shame for the worldwide community". On December 25, 2009, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power".

"I call on the Chinese government to release Liu Xia from house arrest and allow her to depart China, according to her wishes", Mr Tillerson said in a statement.

Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo died Thursday at age 61. And his final months, after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May and granted medical parole, drew worldwide calls for his release.

The Swiss foreign ministry has called on the Chinese government to allow Liu's wife, Xia, full burial rights and to guarantee her freedom of movement.

"Mr. Liu dedicated his life to intellectual discovery, the pursuit of freedom and the protection of human rights in China", Freeland said in her official statement.

"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", it said.

"After the death of Liu Xiaobo, our most important goal is to save Liu Xia from the bitter sea", Hu Jia, a Beijing-based activist, told AFP.

The United States and European Union appealed Beijing to release Liu Xia, the widow of Xiaobo.

"If Xi does the right thing, we can all commend that action", Cruz said. One popular motif was a picture of an empty chair, echoing the way the Nobel Prize committee honored Mr. Liu at the 2010 ceremony.

In a harshly worded English-language editorial published Friday by the nationalistic tabloid the Global Times, the state-run newspaper painted Liu as "a victim led astray by West".

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The government condemned the award as political farce, put Liu Xia under house arrest and even suspended a trade deal with Norway to punish the country where the prizes are awarded even though the Norwegian government has no role in the committee's decisions.

The death on Thursday of Chinese dissident activist and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo elicited an outpouring of grief and anger in China, particularly from its artists. Rights groups accused authorities of manipulating information about his health and refusing to let him leave because they were afraid he would use the freedom to denounce China's one-party Communist regime.

But authorities have restricted her contact with the outside world and her whereabouts were unknown following the death of her husband, a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests whose advocacy for democratic reform infuriated the government.

Liu, 61, died of multiple organ failure on Thursday, the first Nobel peace prize victor to die in custody since the German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who died under surveillance in 1938 after years confined to Nazi concentration camps.

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

Supporters have also begun calling to be allowed to join Mr Liu's funeral and support his wife and family.

She said she could not see it happening under President Xi Jinping but "it shows the direction for the future and I believe it will generate a forum for people to discuss".

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry, on Friday tried to downplay global condemnation of his government as the work of "a few foreign officials". He served three prison sentences in the 1990s, totalling nearly five years.

On the other hand, thousands of Chinese have taken to social media to express themselves despite attempts from the government to censor and mute reactions.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson hit out at China for preventing Liu from seeking cancer treatment overseas.

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