Chinese writer, Nobel Peace Prize winner and activist Liu Xiaobo has died of liver cancer at age 61 while on medical parole. He was diagnosed while serving a prison sentence for chartering a petition to promote democracy in China and was refused treatment until the illness was practically untreatable.
Xiaobo is survived by his wife, Liu Xia, who is on house arrest and has been prevented from speaking out about her husband’s death. Xiaobo was a strong voice for democratic efforts in China, earning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his involvement and leadership. Due to his imprisonment, he was not able to attend the ceremony.
Tonight, a candlelight vigil will be held in New York City by PEN America to honor Xiaobo at which both his and Xia’s writings will be read. More details about the vigil can be found here.
PEN America has called on China to release Liu Xia. “The death of Liu Xiaobo will forever mar China’s reputation under international law and global human rights standards,” the organization said in a statement.