Liu Xiaobo, a political dissident who was first jailed for his role in China’s 1989 pro-democracy movement, and who later wrote and petitioned for political reform and co-writing a paper on policy toward Taiwan that was at odds with the government stance, died last week of liver cancer in prison at age 61.
Since then, everyone from escaped Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei:
Liu’s death is testament to ‘brutal’ China: dissident Ai Weiwei | Reuters https://t.co/gcoGZgvXLe
— 艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) July 13, 2017
to the White House have voiced their support for Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia in 2010, and criticized the Chinese government’s handling of Xiaobo’s illness.
They now have something more to complain about. China’s government has since cremated his body and released the ashes into the sea in what Xiaobo’s supporters are saying is a deliberate attempt to avoid creating a pilgrimage site for dissidents.
“It is deplorable how the Chinese government has forced the family to cremate Liu Xiaobo, bury him at sea, and then coerced Liu’s brother to make robotic statements to the media about the great care of the government and superiority of its health-care system,” said Jared Genser, a lawyer who has represented Liu.
“The government’s thinking is that in this way, they can destroy the body and remove all traces of him,” dissident and family friend Hu Jia said by phone.
The “coercion” mentioned by Genser involved statements from Liu Xiaoguang, who appeared at a press briefing and said,“On behalf of my family I would like to express great thanks to the Chinese Communist party and also the government because everything they have done for our family shows a high level of humanity and personal care to us.”
Friends believe the man spoke under duress.
On social media, the Chinese government has reportedly censored reactions to his death, and his wife continues to be held incommunicado.
More on this tonight.