Beijing dismisses ‘improper remarks’ over decision to not allow democracy advocate to be treated overseas for liver cancer.
China has pushed back against a wave of international censure over the death of democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo, telling the world to stay out of its “domestic affairs” and labelling the 2010 decision to award the late activist a Nobel peace prize “a blasphemy”.
Liu, 61, died of multiple organ failure on Thursday, the first Nobel peace prize winner to die in custody since the German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who died under surveillance in 1938 after years confined to Nazi concentration camps.
Beijing had ignored international calls for Liu to be allowed to seek treatment abroad after he was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May, apparently fearing he would use his final days of freedom to denounce its authoritarian rule.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, on Friday tried to downplay international condemnation of his government as the work of “a few foreign officials”.
The leader of the Norwegian Nobel committee on Thursday accused Beijing of bearing “a heavy responsibility” for Liu’s death, while the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said China’s treatment of him was “wrong”.
“Foreign countries are in no position to make improper remarks,” Geng said, according to an English-language report published by a Communist party tabloid.