I join Secretary Tillerson in mourning the death of Liu Xiaobo, a courageous advocate who dedicated his life to the pursuit of democracy and liberty. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Liu Xia, his family and friends, and the Chinese people. A poet and scholar, Mr. Liu received the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in honor of “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” An active participant in the peaceful Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, he later co-authored Charter 08, a public petition that called for freedom, equality, and constitutional rule in China. China has lost a deeply principled role model who deserved our respect and adulation, not the prison sentences to which he was subjected. We again ask that China release Liu Xia from house arrest, and permit her and her family to travel as they wish.
When he was sentenced, Liu told the court that he did not hate his jailors. Instead, he said he hoped to rise above his own struggles “to counter the regime’s hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love.” As we mourn the loss and celebrate the life of this remarkable man, we call on China to release all prisoners of conscience and to respect the fundamental freedoms of all.