Hundreds have gathered in Hong Kong to pay their respects at a vigil for Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace laureate and political prisoner who died on Thursday aged 61.
China’s most prominent dissident, Xiaobo attracted support from across the globe for his tireless campaigning and enduring non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.
Lee Cheuk-yan, a member of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said: “When you look at Liu Xiaobo his whole death show very much that China don’t have any regard for life, or regard for human rights.
Xiaobo’s death has elicited a deluge of condolences from across the globe, with politicians and activists joining together to pay their respects.
United Nations Human Rights Agency spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell, said: “He was a man who, despite all he suffered, continued to espouse the politics of peace, and the High Commissioner (for Human Rights) is saying that Liu Xiaobo was and will continue to be an inspiration for human rights defenders around the world.”
Fellow dissident, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has been living in Germany since 2015, said Xiaobo’s death is a very difficult moment for Chinese human rights activists.
Weiwei said: “China showed the world how brutal this kind of society can be. I think Liu Xiaobo’s death really closed up a door, a door for peaceful transaction of China become a civilised society. For many people, this is the death of a hope.”
The intellectual turned activist first rose to prominence for his role during the 1989 Tianenman Square protests – which saw a peaceful student demonstration descend into chaos when government troops opened fire on the crowds, killing hundreds.
Xiaobo would spend the next three decades in and out of prison until his death from liver cancer while serving an 11 year sentence for “subversion”.