Demise of Liu Xiaobo: a case of lose-lose for China


July 21, 2017

Demise of Liu Xiaobo: a case of lose-lose for China

by Kerry Brown

http://asaa.asn.au/demise-liu-xiaobo-case-lose-lose-china/

China’s treatment of its Nobel Peace Prize laureate, writer, literary critic, and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, raises difficult and penetrating questions, writes Kerry Brown

The loss of Liu Xiaobo is a tragedy. For him, a personal tragedy but there are far wider ramifications.

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The final decade of his life was spent in jail. The books he could have written, the contribution he could have made to Chinese and global society, the influence he could have had as a highly regarded public intellectual.

The silencing of Liu has robbed Chinese society of an important, forensically sharp, and creative voice at a time of huge internal change when it needed diversity of opinion.

The outside world has been robbed of the perspective of a truly authentic, engaged, highly erudite and insightful scholar. The body of work that Liu published in Chinese and English before his incarceration provided immensely useful insight for understanding the complexities of China’s current position. More of this would have been very helpful. But it was not to be.

That he died suffering from terminal cancer is just about the worst possible outcome for the Chinese government. Eight years into his 11-year sentence, the world saw heart-breaking photos of him and his wife, Liu Xia, while he undertook palliative treatment in hospital and received some kind of care.

Stain on China’s reputation

While Xi Jinping, China’s President, attended the G20 in Hamburg, back home a man in a hospital ward in the north-eastern city of Shenyang was making the sort of headlines that the Chinese government would have preferred to avoid during its new era of global influence.

The Chinese state often talks about win-win outcomes. In the case of Liu, it has turned out to be lose-lose. No one comes out of this happily. For Liu, his family and friends, the situation is very obviously a terrible tragedy. For the Chinese government, who of course will be blamed for the entire situation, it is a great stain on its reputation.

We have to remember the crime that Liu was said to have committed. He never physically harmed any one. He never stole. He was never accused of blackmail or bribing or breaking any law recognisable under most standard justice systems.

His crime was subversion of the state. And the evidence for this was articles he wrote on websites, most of which were blocked in China and had no more than a few hundred readers.

When we reflect on the meaning of Liu’s case, we have to wonder why it was that every step of the way over eight years, right to the end, the Chinese government did not compromise, despite paying a huge price in terms of its reputation and image.

Since the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing, the Chinese state has poured huge resources into promoting itself abroad. Under Xi Jinping, it has made a concerted effort to communicate the ways in which its role in the world is now beneficial and positive. At the same time, this one case gave its most implacable enemies endless ammunition.

The horrible irony was that this was the first-ever peace prize to a citizen of China, resident and also in detention

Take, for instance, the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu. The horrible irony was that this was the first-ever such prize to a citizen of China, resident and also in detention. For a government that had been pursuing its dream of getting Nobel recognition for decades, this was a huge slap in the face. But its management of the issue afterwards made a bad situation even worse.

Liu became for Chinese officials a symbol of how they would not bow to Western pressure. In a sense, he became a test case for how emboldened they felt in the face of criticism about their rights record. So, the refusal to allow him to attend the Oslo ceremony, and the empty seat that was used to represent him, was a powerful and emotive symbol. A single image represented just how problematic Chinese government treatment of rights issues had become.

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On top of this, there was the treatment of Liu Xia in the years since. Her incarceration in her own home despite never being accused of a single crime summed up the zero-sum approach of the Chinese security apparatus. Images of her weeping in the street, reports of her deep depression, and sporadic stories about her pitiful condition, provided a parallel, contradictory narrative to the bolder, positive message China was trying to spread under its new leadership.

One of the most worrying aspects of the Liu case is how it points, not to the Chinese government’s strength and confidence, but to its weakness. As uncertainty spreads everywhere, the world is increasingly inclined to want and to believe in a China that is stable, predictable and confident. The fact the Chinese state has been willing, right until today, to expend so much precious political capital, such disproportionate effort on this case, looked like tangible evidence of a mighty party state rattled by the actions of one man.

The answer lies in trenchant comments that appeared in Liu’s essays

Western leaders have to contend every hour of every day with fierce and sometimes savage criticism, without recourse to placing their opponents in jail, yet China made such an effort to deal with a single individual? The question this inevitably provokes is a simple one: why were they so frightened?

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The answer lies in trenchant comments that appeared in Liu’s essays. For him, what broadly typified the Western posture towards politics and culture was a sceptical, questioning attitude. He contrasted this with a much more managed, coerced contemporary Chinese practice.

Questions will linger

Liu’s work repays attention, as does his case. His treatment after his leading role in the demand for more human rights in Charter 08 generates endless, worrying questions about the control of the ruling Communist Party in China, and their mandate.

These are questions they have so far responded to by simply closing down debate, silencing Liu and people like him. One wonders how this approach can be sustained.

From the Oslo 2010 ceremony, from society in China during his imprisonment, and now through his death, it is Liu’s absence that proves so powerful. This is remarkable.

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Liu’s contribution is to leave unanswered questions lingering for years to come. These questions, which can perhaps be evaded but not ultimately avoided, relate to the real inner confidence and conviction of the political system that imprisoned him. His final disappearance will not stop these questions, only make them more penetrating and difficult to answer.

In his life, Liu worried the Chinese state. With his demise, Liu’s questions should worry us all.

 

 

Malaysia stops airing Despacito


July 20, 2017

Malaysia stops airing Despacito but goes easy on a Corrupt Prime Minister –The Sheer Hypocrisy of it all

Bernama reports

Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will cease broadcasting the global hit song, Despacito, at all its radio and television stations immediately, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak.

He said the RTM evaluation panel decided to withdraw the approval to play the song after a re-evaluation.

“As such, RTM is ceasing the broadcast of the song at its radio and TV stations with immediate effect,” he said to Bernama after attending an Aidilfitri ‘open house’ of the ministry in Putrajaya today.

Several quarters have called for the broadcast of the song to be stopped, alleging obscene lyrics

— Bernama

 

Despacito: classic summer hit or the new Mambo No 5?

Two Puerto Rican musicians (and Justin Bieber) have overtaken none other than Justin Bieber, to have the most-streamed song of all time

Despacito: classic summer hit or the new Mambo No 5?

Two Puerto Rican musicians (and Justin Bieber) have overtaken none other than Justin Bieber, to have the most-streamed song of all time

Wednesday 19 July 2017 08.26 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 19 July 2017 09.24 EDT

Name: Despacito.

Age: Six months old.

Status: The most streamed song of all time.

I’ve never heard this song. You are in the minority. Despacito has been No 1 in the UK and Australia for nine weeks, and No 1 in the US for 10 weeks.

Despacito becomes most streamed song of all time, with 4.6bn plays

Read more

But I’ve been abroad. Well, it’s also been No 1 in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, the Philippines, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela.

But I don’t pay attention to the charts. It has been played 4.6bn times across all streaming services.

But I don’t use streaming services. Its videos have been viewed more than 3bn times on YouTube alone.

But I am an elitist snob who hates all popular things. Right! OK! Why didn’t you just say that?

Tell me more about the song. It’s a Reggaeton-pop number performed by a 39-year-old Puerto Rican man called Luis Fonsi, aided by a 40-year-old Puerto Rican rapper called Daddy Yankee. But the song’s international success is down to a remix featuring Justin Bieber.

And what does “Despacito” mean? It means “Slowly” and concerns Fonsi and Yankee’s favoured seduction style.

TMI, as the kids say. But that’s the thing: the kids can’t get enough of it. This song is even more popular than Ed Sheeran, for crying out loud, and Ed Sheeran is so popular he got to stare aimlessly into the middle distance on the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.

But couldn’t you say that this is a false record, since new subscribers are increasing the market base of streaming services every day? Look, it’s a nice, fun, summery song that lots of people heard on holiday. Isn’t that enough?

I miss real music. You mean summer songs from years gone by?

Exactly. So, Agadoo and Mambo No 5, then?

Stop deliberately trying to provoke me. Why do you hate fun so much?

My primary hobby is writing comments on the Internet. I knew it.

Do say: “The way you nibble on my ear / the only words I wanna hear / Baby take it slow so we can last long.”

Don’t say: “Oh go to sleep, Justin, your bedtime was hours ago.”

Preview YouTube video Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee

Preview YouTube video Black Lace – AgadooPreview YouTube video Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of…) (Official Video)

Taking on the Fourth Estate –Trump, Saudi Arabia and The Free Press


July 18, 2017

Taking on the Fourth Estate –Trump, Saudi Arabia and The Free Press

by Azmi Sharom@www.thestar.com.my

What’s the real reason for the demand that Qatar shut down the Al Jazeera Arabic channel?

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WHAT is the similarity between Donald Trump and the Saudi Government?Well, apart from a penchant for sword dancing, they both have taken a hard line on the free press.

Both have taken different levels of action, though. Trump, being the type of person that he is, reacts with thin-skinned petulance when the press say things he disagrees with or when they criticise him. His fingers will reach for his phone and tweets will come flying out as fast as his little digits can type.

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These tweets are in equal mea­sure childish, misogynistic and – how shall I put this delicately – lacking in any sort of sophistication.   He has, however, upped the ante recently by having a video of him “wrestling” posted.

This is an old video from when he was merely a media mogul and had some sort of role in the WWE and it was, of course, staged. The thing is the video has been changed a bit with the wrestler’s face superimposed with a CNN logo.

So far, so infantile. It’s a bit less funny when you think that recently a Republican candidate actually body-slammed a journalist from The Guardian because he did not like his line of questioning. A strangely prescient wrestling move that Trump applauded. Of course.

redditor trump vs cnn

 

The American press feel a little under siege and nervous because they argue that what their President is doing is essentially saying it’s OK to attack the press and their members, even in a physical way.

Of course, one could pooh-pooh this as a bunch of entitled journos being a bit limp.

After all, unlike many journalists around the world, the Americans do not suffer governments who actually have oppressive laws and the lack of ethics to use those laws against the press. Nor are they subject to brutal murders and other acts of serious violence.

Still, knowing how some Trump supporters are – again, how shall I put this delicately – simple, I suppose these concerns can be given some credence.

The situation is somewhat diffe­rent in the Middle East. The Saudis and their allies are attacking Qatar, at the moment only economically. The reason is ostensibly that Qatar is supporting terror groups.

The rights and wrongs of this claim are not the subject of discussion here.

Neither will I discuss the irony of a country that exports a most lite­ralist brand of Islam, which provides the ideological grist for terrorist mills, calling another nation supporters of terror.

The point I want to talk about is that among the terms that the Saudis have made on the Qataris if they want the blockade lifted, is that Qatar must shut down their news channel, Al Jazeera Arabic (AJA).

Here’s the thing though: is that really the reason for it or is it because AJA is the only Arabic-language news channel that is consistently critical of the governments (mostly unelected) in the Middle East?

That they provide aspirations for democratic governance and civil liberties, and that they give space to voices which would normally be suppressed in the Arab world?

At the end of the day, I think it boils down to simply this: there are governments and leaders that do not like being criticised and they will do all that they can to shut the media up.

They will try to justify their attacks on the press, whether it be by screaming “fake news” in every other sentence, or by claiming that the media is biased against them, thus casting aspersions on the vali­dity of reports; they can use laws to cower the press; or they can go the whole hog by threatening war.

And what is the press to do? Roll over and play dead? Merely think of their livelihoods and their shareholders? Or does it keep striving and pushing? Does it keep on working in a professional, well researched, impartial manner, to provide news that can be relied on?

Because in this age of the Internet, there is a lot of rubbish floating around, and as retro as this may sound, the mainstream press (and by this I mean all journalistic endeavours that are professional and working within the ethical boundaries of their profession, including online news portals) is still vitally important.

If the media does not play their role as the Fourth Estate properly, the question then is, what is their purpose?

 

Lessons from the Brexit Debacle — All very British Bulldog


July 16, 2017

Lessons from the Brexit Debacle– All very British Bulldog

by Dr. Munir Majid@www.thestar.com.my

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FORMER British Prime Minister David Cameron went for the Brexit referendum to strengthen his position in the Conservative party and end the warring among the Tories over the European Union, thinking the Brexiteers would lose.

His complacent and cavalier approach to the referendum in the British system of representative (not direct) democracy, without a robust presentation of the facts, resulted in a campaign driven by passion, emotion, prejudice and lies – and the vote by a whisker a year ago to get out of the EU.

How that was to happen was hardly touched upon. What was exposed instead were the deep divisions that exist in Britain.

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Cameron left the Brexit fiasco to Theresa May whose “Hard Brexit” campaign rhetoric was a typical British Bulldog mess

Cameron resigned and left the mess with his successor Theresa May. Her contribution to the momentous decision was: Brexit means Brexit. Indeed, as a former Remainer, she bent over backwards to go for a “Hard Brexit”, rather like converts to a new religion who become extreme to show how true they are to the faith.

Indeed, she called an early general election to consolidate her position in the party and to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations. Her “Hard Brexit” campaign rhetoric was: no deal was better than a bad deal. All very British Bulldog.

In the event, the Conservatives lost their majority in Parliament, Theresa May’s position in the party is threatened and her hand in the Brexit negotiations weakened. She and her party stay in power through an unsavoury arrangement with the Democratic Ulster Unionists (DUP, who have an abhorrent set of beliefs – one of which is the Pope is the Anti-Christ – and who were able to extract £1.5bil from the prime minister who had famously said there was no “magic money tree” when nurses in the National Health Service sought a pay rise).

After the election last month, the Institute of Directors found a negative swing of 34 points in confidence in the British economy from its last survey in May.

Many epithets have been attached to Theresa May since. She has become rather like “Calamity Jane”. There is an appropriate Malay word that could be applied: kelam kabut. At sixes and sevens. Shooting every which way.

Meanwhile, the much-maligned leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who did so much better in the election than expected, has been elevated to being, as described by a commentator, “a cross between zen master and Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi”.

This is a romantic notion, of course. The Labour Party is as divided as the Conservative Party, on Brexit as on anything else. Corbyn represents the far left, whose economic management for sometimes laudable social policies has many a time led Britain to a fiscal and monetary dead end.

The swing of support for the Labour Party came largely from young voters attracted to Corbyn’s promise to abolish university fees – although May’s political gymnastics and calamitous proposal to put a cap on state support for the old in retirement homes did not help the Tories.

At the first Prime Minister’s Question time after the election, Corbyn was straining at the leash to push his advantage, especially as the Grenfell Tower fire in London has exposed incompetence and division in British society yet again.

He was well armed with facts and figures and had May on the back foot. However, he was not able to put her to the sword. When the British Prime Minister cleverly turned the argument against him by saying it was the last Labour argument that had presided over the housing regulations that allowed the cladding that caused the Grenfell Tower fire to become an inferno, he did not get back at her.

He should have argued any government in power – and May certainly wanted to be in power – has no right to refer to the past (it was a Conservative government that got Britain into Europe) when its duty is to govern with responsibility here and now. Really not very Star Wars of Corbyn.

Britain divided

Be that as it may, both leaders are polarising figures. Britain is deeply divided along the lines of class, income, race, region and age. There is not a whiff of an Emmanuel Macron figure to try and unify recalcitrant constituencies, to find a new belief and a centre to move Britain forward.

Instead it looks as if Britain is going through a death by a thousand cuts. What are the lessons from all this – the sad tragedy that is being played out in Britain – that can be learned for our country and region?

The most important lesson is the threat of division in a country and society that builds up from a long period of neglect which is always exploited in politics.

United Kingdom Independence Party exploited xenophobic instincts among both the British upper class and the underclass, by playing on their fears, whether driven by racism and dislike of foreigners or by perceived rule from Brussels (the new Rome). These emotive references are easy points from which to get support.

Facts can also be twisted, as was evident from the many false numbers that were given on the cost of EU membership. Once a base is founded on base instincts, it is not difficult to whip up falsehoods as self-evident truths.

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In Indonesia and Malaysia, many positions are being taken on race and religion which divide society and cause minorities to become victims. This has been happening for some time and these countries should be mindful of destabilising eruptions.

In Britain, destabilising developments have been caused through the vote. The rule of law holds back the ugliest ramifications of deep social division. One wonders how they might be expressed in less developed political systems in ASEAN.

The other division is in income. We applaud ad nauseam the splendid economic growth rates in the region, and how ASEAN as a whole is the seventh or sixth largest economy in the world, and could become the fourth largest in 2050 or whenever, but do we give enough attention to income disparities and maldistribution of wealth?

They are increasing in ASEAN, within and between member states. Together with other divisive factors, the crunch time in Britain came in the form of Brexit and a hung parliament. In the United States, in the form of Trump. What form could it take in ASEAN countries where the ballot box is not always the preferred means of securing change?

Even with the economy, even as it grows, disruptions are now happening with digitisation, which displaces employment.

Employment for cheap manufacturing cost is increasingly becoming an attraction of the past. What are ASEAN countries like Indonesia and Myanmar doing about training and education, and retraining, for the digital economy? What will happen to micro-, small and medium enterprises and employment levels?

There is much research which shows, and empirical evidence that confirms it, that those at the lowest rung of education and skill level are the most exposed to this fourth industrial revolution.

Displacement of employment, with the already large income disparity, is going to divide society again.

Disruptions and fissures must be anticipated and filled. Otherwise, divisions in society will cause severe problems later on. And sometimes even earlier rather than later on.

We can become smug in Asia, or ASEAN – indeed, in individual countries – at how well we are doing. Even superior, when looking at the travails of other countries. We must resist this. We must learn lessons and understand we are so very far from perfect.

Dr. Munir Majid, Chairman of Bank Muamalat and Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE Ideas (Centre for International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy), is also chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute.

Liu Xiaobo– A Warrior for Human Freedom


July 15, 2017for

Liu Xiaobo– A Warrior for Human Freedom

by Dean Johns@www.malaysiakini.com

“…we owe it to ourselves and our fellows to progressively throw off the chains we are born with, or into, or otherwise shackled with, and seize our freedom to be, and do the best we possibly can”.–Dean Johns

Like so many famous rhetorical flourishes that come to be regarded as self-evident truths, French philosopher, and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ringing declaration that “man is born free, and is everywhere in chains” is, on careful consideration, ridiculous.

Tribute to Madiba and Liu Xiaobo

In fact, the reality is entirely the opposite. We are all born in chains – chains of genetic inheritance, of infantile ignorance and impotence, and of the familial, physical, cultural, political and other environmental circumstances in which we find ourselves – and can either submit to being constrained by such chains or struggle against them to try and set ourselves as free as possible.

And this state of affairs seems to me to be nowhere more evident than in China, or what I prefer to think of as “Chaina”, on the grounds that its people have been enchained throughout history by an endless series of dismal dictatorships.

Mostly imperial dictatorships, of course, but currently one led by a Communist Party as dictatorial as any emperor could possibly be, and so deceptive as to try and pass itself off as the “People’s’ Republic of China” into the bargain.

When the people protest, however, it quickly reverts to the “Party’s Republic of Chaina”, as it did on the occasion of the notorious massacre of protesting students and workers in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and again following the publication of Charter 08 on 10 December 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Liu Xiaobo, a hero of Tiananmen Square who had subsequently sought and found sanctuary in the US before courageously returning to China/“Chaina” to co-author Charter 08, was sentenced in 2009 by the regime to 11 years’ imprisonment for “inciting subversion of state power”.

And today, as I write this, it has been reported that Liu has died under guard in a hospital of cancer after being refused permission to seek treatment overseas for his illness.

Here, courtesy of Wikipedia, in honoured memory of Liu Xiaobo and in support of his fellow activists against the Communist Party overlords of the “Anti-People’s Republic of Chaina”, is the first paragraph of Charter 08, followed by a list of its demands of the regime:

“This year is the 100th year of China’s Constitution, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Democracy Wall, and the 10th year since China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“After experiencing a prolonged period of human rights disasters and a tortuous struggle and resistance, the awakening Chinese citizens are increasingly and more clearly recognising that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal common values shared by all humankind and that democracy, a republic, and constitutionalism constitute the basic structural framework of modern governance.

“A “modernisation” bereft of these universal values and this basic political framework is a disastrous process that deprives humans of their rights, corrodes human nature, and destroys human dignity.

“Where will China head in the 21st century? Continue a “modernisation” under this kind of authoritarian rule? Or recognise universal values, assimilate into the mainstream civilisation, and build a democratic political system? This is a major decision that cannot be avoided:

1. Amending the Constitution
2. Separation of powers
3. Legislative democracy
4. An independent judiciary
5. Public control of public servants
6. Guarantee of human rights
7. Election of public officials
8. Abolition of Hukou system
9. Freedom of association
10. Freedom of assembly
11. Freedom of expression
12. Freedom of religion
13. Civic education
14. Free markets and protection of private property, including privatizing state enterprises and land
15. Financial and tax reform
16. Social security
17. Protection of the environment
18. A federated republic
19. Truth in reconciliation

Of course, China is by no means alone in the world in urgently needing many, if not all, of these reforms for the sake of good government and honest governance on behalf of its citizens. Malaysia, for example, enchained as it has been for almost 60 years by its corrupt, illegitimate, and otherwise criminal UMNO-BN regime, has a crying need for items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 19.

And a great many other nations, from Russia, Pakistan, and all the other “-stans”, to a great many more similarly freedom-impaired countries in Asia, Africa and South America could do with many, if not most of them.

My own country, Australia, could perform much better, in my opinion, on points 6, 11, 13 and 15. And of course the United States, as the self-proclaimed world leader in government of the people, by the people, for the people, could well do itself and the rest of the free world a favour by electing a president capable of thinking coherently and telling or at least tweeting the truth.

But to end on a personal level, it is worth making the point that we are, all of us, part of the problem and thus capable of making ourselves part of the solution.

In other words, whether Chinese or whatever other nationality or ethnicity, we happen to be, we are all chainees of various false “faiths”, “beliefs”, “customs”, “prejudices”, and other mental bonds and restrictions that prevent us living up to our full human potential.

And thus we owe it to ourselves and our fellows to progressively throw off the chains we are born with, or into, or otherwise shackled with, and seize our freedom to be, and do the best we possibly can.

The Spirit of Liu Xiaobo


July 15, 2017

NY Times Editorial Board

How Liu Xiaobo died says a lot about modern China and the fears of modern Chinese leaders. The government in Beijing controls a nuclear weapons arsenal and throws its weight around in international affairs. Yet it was afraid to hear the democratic ideas advocated at great cost by a courageous man of conscience.

In 2009, Mr. Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and even after he learned he had liver cancer in May, Chinese authorities refused to let him leave the country for treatment. So one of China’s most famous dissidents died on Thursday under guard in a Chinese hospital at age 61. He was his country’s only Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

As is common in an increasingly repressive China, Mr. Liu was punished not for a crime, but for giving voice to the most basic human yearnings. In 2008, he was a leader in drafting Charter 08, a constitutional reform manifesto that advocated respect for “universal values shared by all humankind,” including human rights, equality, freedom, democracy and the rule of law. The charter endorsed direct elections, judicial independence and an end to Communist Party dominance, and though it was on the internet only briefly before censors pulled it, it garnered 10,000 signatures.

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The government accused Mr. Liu of “inciting subversion of state power,” but in fact the life of this multitalented scholar, writer, poet and social commentator was devoted to peaceful political change. During the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, he staged a hunger strike, then negotiated a peaceful retreat of student demonstrators as thousands of soldiers stood by with rifles.

Mr. Liu was detained many times after that. Yet when Beijing pressed the Norwegian Nobel Committee not to honor him, the committee wisely awarded Mr. Liu the 2010 Peace Prize in recognition of “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

There are reasons to question whether the detention prevented him from being diagnosed early enough and from receiving medical treatment that could have extended his life. On Saturday as he weakened, two Western doctors who were allowed to examine him pronounced Mr. Liu fit to travel overseas for care, but still China refused, seeking to control the man and message until the end.

The authorities also ignored dozens of writers and Nobel laureates who signed petitions calling for Mr. Liu’s release. His final days were spent in a hospital under guard, unable to communicate with the outside world. Meanwhile, authorities filmed him lying still in his bed, then released the footage without his permission for propaganda purposes.

Western leaders, perhaps cowed by President Xi Jinping’s obvious distaste for hectoring on human rights, were unacceptably subdued before Mr. Liu’s death, mostly leaving comments about his case to lower-ranking officials. None were more callow than President Trump, who since taking office has shown little interest in human rights while enthusiastically embracing many authoritarian leaders, including Mr. Xi.

Mr. Trump did not raise Mr. Liu’s case when he met Mr. Xi in Germany last week. And within hours of Mr. Liu’s death, Mr. Trump, asked at a news conference in Paris to give his impression of Mr. Xi, heaped praise on him, calling him a “very good man” who “wants to do what’s right for China.” Some American officials, including Nikki Haley, the Ambassador to the United Nations, hailed Mr. Liu’s contribution, but Mr. Trump’s words in Paris signaled to Beijing that it need not listen. Regardless of Mr. Trump, other world leaders should join human rights groups in insisting that Beijing release Mr. Liu’s wife, the poet Liu Xia, who has been under police surveillance since 2010, and let her move to the country of her choice.

Mr. Liu’s death is soul-crushing for his supporters, and there are no signs China will open the door to political reform anytime soon. Even so, there is reason to work for a different future. More than 34,000 people, most in China, recently signed an open letter demanding Mr. Liu’s freedom. And many more Chinese today than in 1989 or 2008 are carrying out “small but significant peaceful acts of protest to further human rights protections,” Xiaorong Li, the founder of several human rights groups, wrote in a Times Op-Ed article.

It will now be up to Mr. Liu’s admirers to dedicate themselves to his dream of a modern China that embraces “universal values,” which will outlive the ruthless leaders who sought to crush him but never could.

A version of this editorial appears in print on July 14, 2017, on Page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: The Spirit of Liu Xiaobo.