Liu Xiaobo, one of China’s most famous pro-democracy advocates and political prisoners, just died in Chinese custody at a hospital. He was 61. He is the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in state custody since the days of Nazi Germany.
[Liu Xia is a poet and photographer. She married Xiaobo in 1996 when he was imprisoned in a “reeducation through labor” camp. His “crime” then was to have urged the government to find a peaceful way to unite mainland China with Taiwan, that is, to do so without the dire threats commonly issued by the People’s Republic of China. Liu Xia visited her husband in prison after he was awarded the Nobel Prize. She was then placed under house arrest and deprived of a mobile phone, Internet access, and all but a tiny number of visitors. She was allowed out briefly in 2013 to attend the trial of her brother, Liu Hui—part of what human rights lawyers say is official retaliation against the family. She called out to a crowd of well-wishers: “Tell everybody that I’m not free.”]