Beijing ‘killed’ Liu Xiaobo: dissident Chen Guangcheng

Chen Guangcheng, a lawyer and activist imprisoned for speaking out against forced abortion

Washington (AFP) – Chen Guangcheng, one of China’s best-known activists who fled to the United States, charged Thursday that Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo was “deliberately killed” by the country’s rulers, urging the international community to maintain pressure on Beijing.

Liu, a veteran of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 who was jailed in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” with his Charter 08 manifesto calling for democratic reforms, died Thursday at age 61 after losing a battle with cancer.

Chinese authorities transferred the dissident from prison to a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang less than two months ago. His requests to be allowed to travel abroad for treatment were denied.

“We need to see his death as not a natural, normal death,” Chen told AFP in a telephone interview from Washington, where he has been living after fleeing his home village in eastern China in 2012.

“He was killed by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), deliberately killed by them,” Chen said via an interpreter.

“A few days ago, the Communist Party spread the news saying that Liu Xiaobo could walk around and was eating… and then suddenly he dies. This is cause for great suspicion.”

Chen alleged that China had refused to allow Liu to travel abroad for treatment because they “were likely to discover what was really wrong with him and would probably reveal that they had been harming him with medication or some such things.”

“As a vocal outspoken Nobel prize winner, he would likely speak out about what has happened to him, and that’s another thing that the Chinese Communist Party did not want to have happen,” Chen added.

Chen, a blind lawyer who highlighted the issue of forced abortions under China’s one-child policy and other thorny issues such as pollution and corruption, spent four years in jail and a few more under house arrest before his daring escape.

He fled to the US embassy in Beijing, just before a visit to the Chinese capital by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton. After negotiations, he was allowed to leave China.

Chen called on world leaders to “do much more” to keep the pressure on Beijing, especially over the fate of Liu’s wife Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for years.

“In the international community, many leaders, many nations have chosen to walk a path of appeasement… I feel that that is not what is needed, that’s not what is effective,” he said.

“If the protest from the international community is very strong, there is a strong chance that they will let her go… and allow her to leave the country.”


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