The death of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has sparked an outpouring of anger across the globe, with activists mourning the loss of one of China's most respected dissidents, and prompting vows to intensify the campaign for human rights and democracy in China.
In Hong Kong, political commentator Willy Lam said it did not augur well for human rights on the mainland, saying Liu’s death signaled that Beijing had no intention of softening its hardline stance on human rights.
"I think that the leadership will do whatever they can to ensure that members of the opposition – the intellectuals who are still allowed to speak out – will not use Liu’s death to galvanise support for further demonstrations, further expressions of discontent toward the government," Lam said.
He added: "In the immediate future, definitely, the repressive measures will be exacerbated and this will actually even continue after the 19th Party Congress which will supposedly consolidate Xi Jinping’s power."
Legislator Leung Yiu-chung, who's also a member of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, says Beijing should have offered him treatment earlier, and criticised it for taking too long to disclose Liu's condition.
Demosisto co-founder Joshua Wong tweeted: "We will strive to carry forward his legacy to fight for democracy in Hong Kong and China."
Liu’s friend, Beijing-based Hu Jia, mourned on Twitter: "I'm sorry, Xiaobo. I'm sorry. We put forth our greatest effort, but we could not win your freedom while you were still living. "But we will continue fighting for freedom for your love Liu Xia. The world is sorrowful. Your unfulfilled wish is our mission".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Liu was a `"courageous fighter for civil rights and freedom of opinion."
In Washington, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paid tribute to Liu, saying he "dedicated his life to the betterment of his country and humankind, and to the pursuit of justice and liberty".
"I call on the Chinese government to release Liu Xia from house arrest and allow her to depart China, according to her wishes," Tillerson added.
Internationally acclaimed artist and activist Ai Weiwei tweeted: "Rest in peace. We are here, Xiaobo is here with us."
Wang Dan, a prominent leader of the 1989 pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protest movement, said governments and people worldwide must press for Liu Xia to be allowed to leave China, where she has been held under extralegal house arrest.
"Xiaobo, my beloved teacher, my dear brother, you accepted too much hardship, rest easy," Wang wrote.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was deeply saddened by the death of Liu Xiaobo but refrained from criticising China for refusing to allow him to be treated abroad.(AP, AFP)
Tributes flow after Liu Xiaobo's death
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