GENEVA (13 July 2017) - I would like to express my deep sorrow at the news that China’s iconic peace and democracy figure Liu Xiaobo has died at the age of 61. I send my heartfelt condolences and deepest respects to his wife, Liu Xia, his family and friends, and hope that they will be able to grieve and honour him in accordance with their wishes.
The human rights movement in China and across the world has lost a principled champion who devoted his life to defending and promoting human rights, peacefully and consistently, and who was jailed for standing up for his beliefs.
Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia were a courageous couple and absolutely devoted to one another. I urge the Chinese authorities to guarantee Liu Xia’s freedom of movement, and allow her to travel abroad should she wish so.
Liu Xiaobo was the true embodiment of the democratic, non-violent ideals he so ardently advocated. Despite the imprisonment and separation from the wife he adored that could have fuelled anger and bitterness, Liu Xiaobo declared that he had no hatred for those who pursued and prosecuted him.
Liu Xiaobo was the definition of civic courage and human dignity – a poet and intellectual who wanted, and strove for, a better future for his country. A man who, despite all he suffered, continued to espouse the politics of peace. He was and will continue to be an inspiration and an example for all human rights defenders.
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