China's Nobel Laureate dies a prisoner at 61

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2008

Chairwoman of the Nobel Committee Berit Reiss-Andersen stated that the Chinese government "bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death".

Relatives would only be allowed to hold "a simple farewell ceremony, under severe surveillance", Hu said, adding that Liu's friends had been unable to find out specific details. The futility of it all as nothing has changed in all of Liu's years of fighting for reform in the Communist Party-dominated regime is what the free world will have to live with.

China's most prominent political prisoner died Thursday of liver cancer at 61.

After Liu's death was confirmed, officials suddenly announced his doctors would hold a press conference - a surprising development after days spent constantly checking the hospital's website for updates on the laureate's health.

"He said this prize should go to all the victims of June 4", Liu Xia said, after she was allowed to visit him in jail following the announcement of the prize. It should be about taking ideas like those from Liu Xiaobo into consideration. No one should forget what this government and the Xi Jinping administration has done.

Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. China will eventually become a country of the rule of law in which human rights are supreme.

Liu died Thursday of liver cancer after spending almost nine years in custody. She was later placed under house arrest and kept away from her family and any other external contact, with no explanation by the authorities.

His most recent prison sentence stemmed from his co-authorship of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform and human rights in China.

The PM is now on holiday and announced her "deep grief" at Liu's death, reports NRK.

Despite pleas form all over the country, he was not allowed medical parole until much later, when he was hospitalised in northeast China.

The state-run Global Times daily posted on its Weibo account: "The deceased has gone and people are playing a magnificent show pretending to be sad". He served three prison sentences in the 1990s, totalling nearly five years.

China's warning seems to have gone unheeded, with even the United States president - not known to be a public champion of human rights activists - expressing his sorrow over Liu's death and calling him a "political prisoner".

China said at the time that Liu's award was an "obscenity" that should not have gone to a man it called a criminal and a subversive. "For [China], they do not want to highlight Liu Xiaobo because he is a powerful voice for freedom and against tyranny", Cruz said. Many across the globe called for him to be released so that he could seek medical assistance overseas.

"Heaven is watching", wrote a WeChat user, suggesting that China was being judged by a higher power for its treatment of Mr. Liu.

The White House statement does not offer any criticism of China or of Liu's case.

The UNHCR chief "should respect the judicial sovereignty of China and not interfering in China's internal affairs".

Responding to such calls early Friday, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang chastised foreign officials for "making improper comments on Liu Xiaobo's death of illness". The news of his passing the day before prompted praise for his life's work in advancing liberty and due process as well as condemnation of the Chinese government for its treatment of Liu and his wife, Liu Xia.

Just a day before Liu's death, the United States had called on China to release him from custody so he could see his family and pursue the medical care.

"I can no longer get in touch with Liu Xia", Shang said. Reflecting on their lives in a poem, she said, "I like to draw trees; why?" "He was and will continue to be an inspiration and an example for all human rights defenders".

Rights groups and Western governments had urged China to allow Liu and his wife to leave the country to be treated overseas, as Liu had said he wanted. Officials ignored worldwide pleas to let him spend his final days free and overseas. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday he "deeply regrets" that China didn't let Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, travel to Germany.

"I also wish to express my deepest condolences to his family, particularly Ms. Liu Xia who is now still under house arrest".