There were no mentions of Liu Xiaobo to be found across Chinese social media sites following the Nobel Laureate's death on Thursday, a result of government censors. But that doesn't mean Liu's Chinese admirers weren't paying tribute. Though "RIP" and even the burning candle emoji were barred from site Weibo, subtle references to Liu could still be found, reports the New York Times. Referencing a thunderstorm in Beijing, one user noted, "It must be to mark the exit of a hero. The heavens are also moved." Others shared Lui's birth and death dates and a photo of an empty chair, mimicking how the Nobel Prize committee acknowledged Liu in 2010 while he was serving an 11-year sentence in China for inciting subversion. More coverage on the dissident's death:
- Wife's fate: The committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize says it is "deeply worried about Liu Xia's situation" and has demanded Chinese authorities "lift all restrictions they have put upon her," reports the BBC. She has been under house arrest since 2010 amid growing concern over her mental health. The government has refused to say whether it will allow her to leave China, though Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Beijing to do just that, notes Reuters.
- Last words: The hospital said Liu's last words were directed to his wife: "Live on well," per the South China Morning Post. He had also written fragmentary poems to her in his final days, and the New York Times has excerpts.
- His life: Quartz has a timeline of his life. He left his studies in the US in 1989 to return to China when the Tiananmen Square protests broke out, and he's credited with saving the lives of many students by negotiating their departure before the tanks rolled in. His last conviction, in 2009, was for "inciting subversion of state power" over a manifesto he wrote on human rights.
- Butt out: China responded to international criticism over Liu's death by telling critics to mind their own business. “Foreign countries are in no position to make improper remarks,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesman, per the Guardian. Liu was the first Nobel laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky in 1938.
- Blackout: Though the state-run Global Times ran an editorial calling Liu "a victim led astray by [the] West," per CNN, many in China were left in the dark about his death, which was ignored by media outlets on the mainland.
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