Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo dies at 61, Nobel Committee blames govt

Liu Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for 'inciting subversion of state power' after he helped write a petition known as 'Charter 08' calling for sweeping political reforms. In photo: Liu's image is projected on a hotel in Oslo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 13, 2017, 01.59 PM (IST)

Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Chinese dissident, has died at 61. 

Liu was being treated for late-stage liver cancer in a hospital in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang. The Chinese government had turned down offers for Liu to be treated abroad and warned other countries to stay out of China's internal affairs.

The Shenyang legal bureau said in a brief statement on its website that Liu had suffered multiple organ failure and efforts to save him had failed, Reuters reported.

Liu was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "inciting subversion of state power", Reuters reported, after he helped write a petition known as "Charter 08" calling for sweeping political reforms.

He had been in jail until he was recently moved to hospital in Shenyang. His wife has been under house arrest since 2010, although she was allowed to visit her husband in hospital.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the prize, said the Chinese government bore  "heavy responsibility" for the death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

"We find it deeply disturbing that Liu Xiaobo was not transferred to a facility where he could receive adequate medical treatment before he became terminally ill," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

"The Chinese Government bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death," she told Reuters in an emailed statement. 

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson also hit out at China for having prevented Liu Xiaobo from seeking cancer treatment abroad.

"Liu Xiaobo should have been allowed to choose his own medical treatment overseas, which the Chinese authorities repeatedly denied him," Boris Johnson said in a statement.  The British foreign minister also described Liu as a "lifelong campaigner for democracy, human rights and peace".

"This was wrong and I now urge them to lift all restrictions on his widow, Liu Xia," he added.

Liu became the first Nobel Peace laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who died in a hospital under the custody of the Nazis in 1938.