World Media

China faces backlash after Liu's death

Shenyang Municipal Information Office Liu Xia the wife of imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo watches as Liu's ashes are buried at sea off the coast

China onhit out at the global community for its support of late democracy activist and Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died onin the northeastern province of Liaoning, as activists continued their calls for his wife Liu Xia to be allowed to leave China.

Liu, a government critic and thorn in the side of the authorities for decades, died in custody, having been sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for "subversion".

The Nobel Committee, which had awarded Liu the Peace Prize in 2010, said the Chinese government bore a heavy responsibility for his death.

Liu Xiaobo is survived by a son, and his wife of 21 years, Liu Xia, a staunch supporter of her husband who is reported to have said that she was determined to marry the "enemy of the state".

Beijing had ignored worldwide calls for Liu to be allowed to seek treatment overseas after he was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May, apparently fearing he would use his final days of freedom to denounce its authoritarian rule.

Mourning his death, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Liu was a "courageous fighter for civil rights and freedom of expression", while the French, British and USA governments called on China to allow Liu's family to move around freely.

Japan's government says it will continue to pay close attention to human rights in China after the death of its most famous political prisoner.

Liu's main doctor said he was able to say goodbye to his 56-year-old wife and, in his final moments told her to "live well". Nineteen measures were itemized with the aim of improving China's human rights situation.

"That's why the Committee I chaired awarded Liu Xiaobo the Peace Price", he added.

As Liu Xiaobo's body awaited cremation at the Xiheyuan Funeral Home in Liaoning's provincial capital Shenyang, German diplomats extended an invitation to Liu Xia to come with her brother Liu Hui to Germany.

Liu Xia told Reuters that he wanted to dedicate his prize to all those who died in the Tiananmen crackdown. 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.

Shenyang Municipal Information Office Liu Xia wife of Liu Xiaobo and her brother Liu Hui left stand next to the casket of the late Nobel Peace Prize winner and Chinese dis

Many held signs with the image of the man they say symbolised courage in the face of adversity, while protesting the Chinese government's actions in detaining Liu Xiaobo up until his death in hospital from liver cancer.

Yang denounced the way Liu was "slowly murdered by the regime in front of the world", and said the global community must hold Beijing accountable.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a statement issued after Liu Xiaobo's death on Thursday, appealed for his widow's release. He served three prison sentences in the 1990s, totalling nearly five years.

That heady period of openness and debate on China's future ended in the tragic Tiananmen incident of June 4, 1989, when People's Liberation Army troops mowed down hundreds of pro-democracy protesters, possibly more, in Tiananmen Square and nearby areas.

A drawing of Liu and his wife.

Mr Liu was imprisoned for co-authoring the manifesto called Charter 08, calling for sweeping democratic reforms.

The Nobel-winning writer and human rights activist died of liver cancer Thursday evening while in custody at a hospital in Shenyang in northeastern China.

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

Domestic media outlets, all controlled by the ruling Communist Party, mostly ignored the news, with a photo of a beaming President Xi Jinping meeting his Canadian counterpart dominating the front page of the party mouthpiece the People's Daily.

For a statement in his trial, Xiaobo said: "Hatred can rot a person's wisdom and conscience".