Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winner jailed for advocating an end to one-party rule, died from complications related to cancer after an global push failed to secure his treatment overseas.
At the Nobel presentation ceremony, he was represented by an empty chair.
It was "overseas dissidents" who are the most active in "hyping the issue" and are trying to "boost their image by "deifying" Liu", the Global Times said in a Monday editorial. He would endure another three years in a labor camp in the mid-1990s for having the temerity to call for a dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader.
"His spiritual legacy will never fade away", he added.
Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.
Although he was recently "released" from a Chinese prison to be treated for late-stage liver cancer, Dr. Liu was still not free.
A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Although Liu died of liver cancer and had had hepatitis, a risk factor, Chinese prisons are notorious for their poor medical care, and prison authorities often deny medical care to dissidents as a way of putting pressure on them.
After the doctors' Sunday statement, China released short videos of their visit, apparently taken without their knowledge, in which the German doctor appeared to praise the care Liu had received from the Chinese doctors. Doctors from both countries cleared it, but Chinese officials insisted he was too sick to leave.
Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 3:40 am EDT
"Whether it was gross negligence or political murder, they have committed an unprecedented crime as no other government of the world has ever seen a Nobel Peace Prize laureate die in its custody", said Hu Jia, a leading Chinese human rights activist, when Liu first left jail. Strict censorship has stopped most ordinary Chinese from following his case.
Liu dedicated his life to the betterment of his country and humankind, and to the pursuit of justice and liberty, Tillerson said in a statement.
Liu was the third Nobel laureate to receive the peace prize while under arrest or under house arrest. "In his death, he has only reaffirmed the Nobel Committee's selection", said Tillerson in a statement.
"China has lost a deeply principled role model who deserved our respect and adulation, not the prison sentences to which he was subjected", said USA ambassador to China Terry Branstad. A report in China's state-run media focused heavily on the medical treatment he received, including care from German and USA doctors shortly before he died.
"We find it deeply disturbing that Liu Xiaobo was not transferred to a facility where he could receive adequate medical treatment before he became terminally ill", Reiss-Andersen said, according to the wire service.
In the aftermath, many activists fled China but Liu stayed.
John Kamm, founder of the Dui Hua Foundation in San Francisco who has advised US administrations on Chinese human rights issues, wrote that Liu's demise "is a waystation on the road to freedom of the Chinese people".
"What I demanded of myself was this: Whether as a person or as a writer, I would lead a life of honesty, responsibility, and dignity", Liu wrote in "I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement", which he was prevented from reading aloud at his sentencing in 2009.