NED Mourns Liu Xiaobo

The death of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo is a devastating loss for the country’s democrats and peaceful advocates of gradual reform, the National Endowment for Democracy said today.

“Liu’s passing robs China’s pro-democracy movement of its most consistent and eloquent voice,” said Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy. “He possessed a moral authority that his persecutors can only envy. The Chinese government’s refusal to allow Liu to travel abroad for medical care exposed the regime’s callous disregard for the most elemental humanitarian standards.”

“We extend our profound sympathies to Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, herself a model of courage and integrity. And we express our solidarity with China’s democratic voices who will maintain and honor Liu’s commitment to peaceful democratic reform.”

Liu was the co-recipient of the National Endowment for Democracy’s 2014 Democracy Award and the Washington-based democracy assistance group had already “deplored the unconscionable medical neglect” he and his wife, Liu Xia, have suffered since his imprisonment in 2009.

Liu’s passing, from liver cancer, while guarded by state security agents, is the first time a Nobel laureate died in custody since 1938 when pacifist Carl von Ossietzky succumbed to tuberculosis while incarcerated in a hospital in Nazi Germany.