Today the world lost one of its most inspiring and courageous figures. On Thursday, Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Prize recipient and Chinese intellectual, has died at 61 of cancer. The Chinese government defied the world in keeping Liu under custody as part of its authoritarian, one-party rule. Liu kept the memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre alive when the government has sought to wipe out any evidence that the protests even occurred. He was a tireless defender for civil liberties in a country that rejects the most basic principles of human rights and civil liberties. He declined numerous opportunities to leave the country and live in freedom. He was the ultimate Chinese patriots and the Chinese government has reaffirmed that it remains a blood-soaked dictatorship. Some day freedom will come to China and the Chinese people will learn of people like Liu who died for their liberty and their future.
Liu died of liver cancer in Shenyang, the city in northeastern China. The Chinese government prevented him from being with his family as he died. They also denied him basic medical treatment for cancer. In other words, they killed him.
It won’t work. Freedom is like water. It finds a way out, even through the thickest of walls. When that day comes, I only hope that some of these Chinese officials are still alive to answer for the death of of Liu Xiaobo.
Of his many moving writings, this quote should serve to rally a new generation of Chinese civil libertarians:
Tyranny is not terrifying; what is really scary is submission, silence, and even praise for tyranny.”