Reuters SHENYANG, China (Reuters) — Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, a prominent dissident since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, died on Thursday after being denied permission to leave the country for treatment for late-stage liver cancer.
Liu, 61, 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.
Already seriously ill, Liu, a thorn in the ruling Communist Party’s side since he helped negotiate a deal to allow protesters to leave Tiananmen Square before troops and tanks rolled in, was moved last month from prison to a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang.
The Shenyang Bureau of Justice said in a brief statement on its website that Liu had suffered multiple organ failure and efforts to save him had failed. Though allowed out on medical parole he was never freed, spending his final days in the hospital surrounded by security guards.
Teng Yue’e, the chief doctor treating Liu, told a news conference in a nearby hotel that Liu died at 5:35 p.m. surrounded by his family.
“When Mr. Liu Xiaobo died, he was not in any pain at that moment, he was very much at peace, because all of his relatives said their goodbyes beforehand. So when we saw him we thought he was very much at peace,” Teng said.