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Death of Liu Xiaobo mirrors the level of human rights in China

Death of Liu Xiaobo mirrors the level of human rights in China

Posted July. 15, 2017 07:14,   

Updated July. 15, 2017 07:49


Chinese human rights activist and China’s first Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo (62) died from liver cancer on Wednesday. He was diagnosed of the late-stage liver cancer in May while serving an 11-year sentence in prison for inciting subversion of state power since 2009. He had been hospitalized since June as his conditions became serious. After Liu’s death was reported, the global community is raging against the Chinese government that suppresses human rights. However, the Chinese media remains silent on his death, while the world is mourning the loss of a renowned human rights activist.


After the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, Liu’s life changed upside down, from a scholar to a dissident activist, and he became an iconic, prominent pro-democracy activist in China. He immediately came back from the U.S. and led democratization movements. In 2008, Liu led a petition campaign called “Charter 08” that called for a political reform to end the one-party system in China. He had been jailed four times since then. Moreover, Liu's wife, Liu Xia, had been held under house arrest with close monitoring by the government. Unlike other dissidents, Liu decided to stay in China and underwent severe treatment. He stood with his principle as he once said, “Tyranny is not terrifying, what is really scary is submission, silence, and even praise for tyranny.” He was informed of the Nobel Peace Prize dedicated to him while he was in a prison in 2010. He could not attend the ceremony. This time again the Chinese government refused Liu’s last request to receive medical care overseas with his wife.


Freedom and basic human rights are universal rights. This is the reason why the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” However, whenever China’s violation of human rights is criticized, the Chinse government talks about interference in domestic affairs. China even ignored the international community’s request for Liu’s release to honor his fight for freedom and democracy.

China is by no means a powerful and influential nation considering extremely low level of human rights in China and its actions on the global stage. China has branded itself as a rising power but failed to show a sense of responsibility or leadership. China’s shameful revenge to Korea over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system or military show-off to claim China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea is a case in point to witness China’s hegemonism. China has become the second-biggest economic power in the world, and it must understand a grave responsibility that follows. The basic principle of a civilized nation is that man should live like a human being. If China fails to stop its uncivilized actions harshly violating human rights, China will never be called a leading country and be blamed that China is not civilized and cultured.