Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died from liver cancer on July 13 at the age of 61 in a hospital in Shenyang, northeast Mainland China. A video about Liu’s hospital treatment released on the website of Shenyang’s judicial bureau Friday appeared aimed at the same objective. China’s media outlets, all controlled by the ruling Communist Party, mostly ignored the news on Liu. “It’s a blasphemy of the peace prize”.
He had been jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” after helping to write a petition known as “Charter 08″ calling for sweeping political reforms.
Officials “fear that if someone who is as emblematic a symbol as Liu Xiaobo had a burial ground, it would become a place where his supporters would gather on his memorial day, the day he received the Nobel or any other such occasions to express their desire to chase after freedom”, activist and family friend Ye Du said.
Officials released photos showing Liu Xia with her brother, and two of Liu Xiaobo’s brothers in front of the body, which was covered with white petals and surrounded by flowers at a funeral home.
Government official Zhang, speaking earlier, said Liu’s widow was “currently free”, adding that as a Chinese citizen, her rights would be protected under the law. Prior to the cremation, a ceremony was held with the attendance of the late activist’s wife Liu Xia and his friends. “The authorities are very anxious that a grave would be the focal point of the public’s actions to memorialize him, which could easily turn into protests”.
In Hong Kong thousands took part in a candlelit march Saturday night in memory of Liu.
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who lives in Berlin, tweeted a photo of the funeral and called the display “disgusting” and a “violation” of the deceased.
In Hong Kong, which enjoys more freedom than the mainland as a condition of its 1997 return to Chinese rule, people came out on Saturday evening carrying candles and posters of Liu. Governments around the world have urged China to free Liu Xia from the strict house arrest she has lived under for years even though she has not been convicted of any crime.
“Liu’s memorial tablet can not find a place in China’s cultural temple”, the Global Times newspaper said in an editorial.
The government also said some of Liu’s friends attended the ceremony, a claim that was disputed by people who have always been close to Liu. His illness elicited a deluge of sympathy from friends, Chinese rights activists and global groups, who saw him as a fearless advocate of peaceful democratic change. “Deification of Liu by the West will be eventually overshadowed by China’s denial of him”.
He was in prison when he was awarded the Nobel in 2010, which Beijing condemned as an affront to its political and legal systems.
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