West bows to China with lip service over death of rights activist Liu Xiaobo

By Elodie Goulesque

The death on July 13th of imprisoned Chinese human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has highlighted the reticence of Western nations to clearly denounce the fierce repression meted out by the Chinese authorities against pro-democracy campaigners. Mediapart’s Beijing correspondent Elodie Goulesque reports on how rights issues have fallen off the agenda of the international community in face of China’s rise to the rank of the world’s second superpower.

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While Liu Xiaobo was little known in China, his death from liver cancer at the age of last Thursday prompted tributes from around the world to the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and calls on the Chinese authorities to lift the house arrest imposed seven years ago on his wife Liu Xia and to allow her to travel abroad.