New Yorker: Liu was China’s sole winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and was in prison for pieces of writing that the Communist Party considered tantamount to a rebellion. by Evan Osnos
'A few weeks ago, the Party revealed that Liu was suffering from late-stage liver cancer, nearly past the point of treatment. He was moved from his cell to a guarded bed at the First Hospital of China Medical University, where he was barred from speaking out or going abroad for treatment. He died on Thursday, much as he had lived: confined and incommunicado but forever unbroken.
'Liu wrote seventeen books, as well as hundreds of essays, poems, and screeds. By the time I met him, in Beijing, in 2007, he had done three stints in jail, beginning with his conviction for “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement” for his activities as a leader of demonstrations at Tiananmen Square. The Party had labelled him a “black hand” —a hidden mastermind of disorder— but, as I wrote of Liu, in a book on China, he embraced the term as a “medal of honor.” In his view, it was one of the few things he could retain behind bars. In a jailhouse poem, he wrote, “Besides a lie / I own nothing.”
'He was jailed for the fourth and final time the following year, for co-authoring a petition that called for nineteen reforms, including independent courts and elections for higher office. He was charged with “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to eleven years in prison.'