Liu, 61, is the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in custody since
the Nazi era, and his death is an indictment of China’s brutal
treatment of one of the great figures of modern times.
Even as Liu was dying of cancer, China refused to allow Liu to travel
for treatment that might have saved his life. In a move that felt crass
and disgusting, the Chinese authorities filmed the dying Liu without
his consent to make propaganda films falsely depicting merciful
treatment of him.
In the coming weeks, China will probably try to dispose of Liu’s
remains in a way that will prevent his grave from becoming a democratic
pilgrimage spot. The authorities no doubt will attempt to bully and
threaten Liu’s brave widow, Liu Xia, and perhaps confine her
indefinitely under house arrest to keep her silent.
Will Western leaders speak up for her? I fear not, any more than they
forcefully spoke up for Liu Xiaobo himself.
If the way Liu died is an indictment of China’s repression, it also
highlights the cravenness of Western leaders who were too cowed to
raise his case in a meaningful manner. President Trump met Chinese
President Xi Jinping in Hamburg at the G-20- summit and did not even
let the name Liu Xiaobo pass his lips. For shame, all around.
Liu Xiaobo died with dignity and honor, true to his principles.
Everybody else, not so much.
Some day after democracy has come to China, there will be a memorial in
Tiananmen Square to Liu. There will never be a memorial there in free
China to Xi, who has overseen a harsh crackdown on dissent on his
watch, leaving China substantially less free.
Dildo Baggins <firstname.lastname@example.org>