China on Friday said that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo amounted to "blasphemy" and lodged protests with several countries, including the United States, for making "irresponsible statements" on the death of the prominent dissident.
The following year, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman today said that awarding the Nobel peace prize to Liu "goes against the purposes of this award" and is "a blasphemy".
The leader of the Norwegian Nobel committee on Thursday accused Beijing of bearing "a heavy responsibility" for Liu's death, while the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said China's treatment of him was "wrong".
The bureau of justice of Shenyang, the city in northeastern China where Liu was being treated for cancer, announced on its website that Liu had died.
Ottawa's reaction to Liu's death came as Canada's Governor General David Johnston is concluding a state visit to China on Friday, accompanied by a large delegation of Canadian politicians and business leaders.
The police have kept his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest, preventing her from speaking out about Liu's death and his belated treatment for cancer. Xia was sentenced to house arrest since 2009, after Xiaobo was jailed for co-writing the Charter 08, a document propagating political transformation in China.
Ranked near the bottom of RSF's World Press Freedom Index (176th out of 180 countries), China is one of the world's biggest prisons for journalists and civil rights activists.
China too is eager to expand its trade relationship with Canada and has been pushing Ottawa to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement with Beijing.
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Activists in China, while speaking to AFP, said Xia's parents passed away past year, which led to her suffering from depression. The hospital treating Liu said that he was suffering from respiratory and renal failure, as well as septic shock, and that his family had decided against inserting a breathing tube necessary to keep him alive.
"It is hard believe the Chinese prison authorities were so incompetent as to not notice a cancer developing in such a high-profile detainee as Liu Xiaobo".
Liu Xiaobo was a celebrated activist in other parts of the world and a dissident in China. Washington Post writes that, "Mr. Liu and his fellow hunger-strikers, fearing a bloodbath in the square, acted as negotiators between military forces and the remaining demonstrators".
"This was Liu Xiaobo's Chinese Dream".
Ai said of his friend, "I think Liu Xiaobo will be remembered as an individual, a strong mind, with his belief, and as a courageous fighter, believing in democracy and freedom of speech".
"Tonight, together with everyone that cares about human rights in China, we mourn the tragic passing of Liu Xiaobo".
Liu was "primarily saying goodbye to his wife" and telling her to "live well" in his last moments, doctor Teng Yue'e told a news conference hours after the democracy advocate died.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairwoman of Nobel Peace Prize committee, said her visa to China to attend Liu's funeral had been rejected amid speculation that Beijing was trying to avoid a publicity around Liu's funeral.
"If we don't join the students in the square and face the same kind of danger, then we don't have any right to speak", Xiaobo was quoted by Hou.
Beijing rejected worldwide criticism for not allowing its most prominent critic to be treated overseas for liver cancer and claimed that the case is an internal affair and other countries were "in no position to make improper remarks".