United States asks China to release Liu Xiaobo's wife from house arrest

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Xiaobo in life-threatening condition

In the early hours of June 4, 1989, as soldiers gunned down protesters in the streets of the capital, Liu negotiated with the military to let the remaining students leave the square unharmed. Link says Liu told the other authors and signers that he was willing to take the rap for the document.

Before the Charter, Liu had served as the president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center writers' group from 2003 to 2007, as well as heading Democratic China magazine since the mid-1990s. Beijing had sentenced him to 11 years of prison, for promoting subversive activities.

Below is a look at milestones in the drive for greater Chinese political freedom, openness and accountability beginning with the 1978 democracy movement up to the present day, along with Liu's role.

By the time Liu, a scholar and human rights advocate, was diagnosed in late May, his liver cancer was already in its late stages. Though allowed out on medical parole he was never freed, spending his final days in the hospital surrounded by security guards.

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Xiaobo in life-threatening condition
Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 3:40 am EDT

"You embody democratic values more honestly and passionately than the leaders of our democratic countries", Kristoff wrote. In response, Beijing determined he was guilty of "inciting subversion".

Mr Liu had spent time in prison in China before 2009, and was already the country's most famous government critic when he was sentenced for his part in Charter 08.

"Today we grieve the loss of a giant of human rights", said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, in a statement. Liu leaves a job at Columbia University to join the protests and is jailed after the crackdown.

SHENYANG, China (AP) — Friends of China's ailing and imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo have made their way to his hospital at the risk of being detained by the authorities, saying they want to show their support in what could be his final moments. However, the Chinese government refused on grounds that Liu was a criminal.

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"It is a sad and disturbing fact that the representatives of the free world, who themselves hold democracy and human rights in high regard, are less willing to stand up for those rights for the benefit of others", said the organization's chairwoman, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

The head of the Nobel committee placed Liu's prize on an empty chair to symbolize his absence from the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, that year. "My thoughts and prayers are with her, their family and the countless friends Liu Xiaobo had around the world".

Although Liu died of liver cancer and had had hepatitis, a risk factor, Chinese prisons are notorious for their poor medical care, and prison authorities often deny medical care to dissidents as a way of putting pressure on them.

Liu, who has advanced liver cancer, is suffering from respiratory and renal failure as well as septic shock, the hospital said Wednesday. "And his courage and his sacrifice for his country will inspire millions of Chinese activists and dissidents to persevere until China has become the multi-party democracy that Liu knew to his core was within its people's grasp".

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Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo has died aged 61. Bishop wrote on his blog Sinocism.

Liu's wife, the poet Liu Xia, remains under house arrest, although she has not been charged with an offense.

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