Opsamling: Liu Xiaobo er død

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Liu Xiaobo døde den 13. juli. Her får du en opsamling med reaktioner, kommentarer, nekrologer, analyser og nyheder.

Du kan begynde med at læse mere om Liu Xiaobo på Kinablog, hvor du kan se alle artikler med Liu. Her får du overblikket med seks spørgsmål og svar om Liu Xiaobo, hans arbejde og hvorfor han fik Nobels Fredspris.

Du kan også læse et brev og et digt, som hans hustru, digteren Liu Xia, skrev til Liu Xiaobo i 2013. Hende har jeg også interview med her, som er lavet kort før kommunistpartiet satte hende i husarrest.

Endelig er der en opsamling med hele forløbet om hans leverkræft.

Liu Xiaobo døde den 13. juli, og i Hong Kong gik folk på gaden for at mindes ham:

Et af de store spørgsmål var, hvor Liu Xiaobo skulle begraves. For kommunistpartiet ville ikke risikere, at hans gravsted blev et symbol over Liu eller kampen for demokrati. Løsningen blev, at Liu Xiaobo blev kremeret og hans aske spredt på havet. Uanset hvad familien og Liu Xia så måtte synes om det. Derfor var vreden da også forståelig blandt Liu Xiaobos venner, som man kan læse her i denne glimrende artikel i Guardian:

“This is too evil, too evil,” the exiled author Liao Yiwu, a close friend, told the Guardian after the details of Liu’s cremation and sea burial emerged on Saturday afternoon. “They are a bunch of gangsters.”

Mo Zhixu, another friend and activist, said: “The regime must be insane. They have done the worst thing you could have possibly imagined.”

The artist Ai Weiwei said he suspected authorities had decided to bury Liu at sea to deny his supporters “a physical memorial site” at which to pay homage to him and his ideas. “It is a play,” he said. “Sad but real.”

Censuren i Kina var skarp, så man for eksempel i søgemaskiner og sociale medier ikke kunne søge på “begravelse på havet”.

Men alligevel nåede Liu Xiaobos død ud på nettet i Kina:

Da Liu Xiaobo skulle kremeres var sikkerheden også massiv, og krematoriet var skarpt bevogtet, som man kan læse i denne reportage fra AFP:

A group of plainclothes officers appeared like ghosts from behind tombstones next to the crematorium where the body of China’s most prominent dissident was rumoured to have been taken after his death.

It was a lot of security for a place that may not even have held Liu Xiaobo’s body, offering a reminder of the government’s determination to make sure that reporters remained far away from the Nobel laureate and his family — even in death.

Financial Times har en fin nekrolog over Liu, hvor der er flere citater fra ham. Blandt andre dette:

“Tyranny is not terrifying,” Liu wrote. “What is really scary is submission, silence, and even praise for tyranny. As soon as people decide to oppose it to the bitter end, even the most vicious tyranny will be shortlived.”

Men i Vesten bøjer regeringer sig på stribe for Kina. Selvom Liu Xiaobo skal sammenlignes med for eksempel Nelson Mandela, er han stort set blevet tiet ihjel i Vesten. Hvilket – ud over mig selv – har undret mange:

En af de absolut bedste nekrologer, der er skrevet over Liu, er i New York Review of Books og forfattet af hans tidligere ven Perry Link. Samtidig er den også en politisk analyse af Kina:

Liu Xiaobo has been compared to Nelson Mandela, Václav Havel, and Aung San Suu Kyi, each of whom accepted prison as the price for pursuing more humane governance in their homelands. But Mandela, Havel, and Suu Kyi all lived to see release from the beastly regimes that repressed them, and Liu Xiaobo did not. Does this mean his place in history will fall short of theirs? Is success of a movement necessary in order for its leader to be viewed as heroic?

Perhaps. It may be useful, though, to compare Liu Xiaobo and Xi Jinping. The two were separated in age by only two years. During Mao’s Cultural Revolution both missed school and were banished to remote places. Xi used the time to begin building a resume that would allow him, riding the coattails of his elite-Communist father, to one day vie for supreme power; Liu used the time to read on his own and learn to think for himself. One mastered the skullduggery and sycophancy that a person needs to rise within a closed bureaucracy; the other learned to challenge received wisdom of every kind, keeping for himself only the ideas that could pass the test of rigorous independent examination. For one of them, value was measured by power and position; for the other, by moral worth. In their final standoff, one “won,” the other “lost.” But two hundred years from now, who will recall the names of the tyrants who sent Mandela, Havel, and Suu Kyi to jail? Will the glint of Liu Xiaobo’s incisive intellect be remembered, or the cardboard mediocrity of Xi’s?

En anden glimrende nekrolog, der giver et godt og nuanceret billede af ham som person, er skrevet af Tania Branigan i Guardian. Her beskriver hun også, hvordan Liu blev gift med hans hustru, Liu Xia:

It was in a labour camp, in 1996, that he married the poet Liu Xia. Her devotion sustained him and – painfully aware of his shortcomings in his first marriage – he was a very different husband the second time around. He took enormous pride in his wife’s talents.

“Your love has been the sunlight that leaps over high walls and shines through iron bars,” he said in a statement at his trial in 2009. “My love for you … is so full of remorse and regret that it at times makes me stagger under its weight.”

Se også denne videonekrolog på Wall Street Journal:

Liu Xia er digter men også fotograf. Der har været flere udstillinger i udlandet medhendes fotos af Liu Xiaobo:

Og netop hans hustru, der ikke har begået nogen forbrydelser, men som partiet har holdt i husarrest de seneste syv år, er det spørgsmål, som mange for eksempel menneskeretsgrupper nu fokuserer på:

Nicholas Kristof kalder Liu Xiaobo for “vor tids Mandela“, og spørger, om de vestlige ledere vil gøre for Liu Xia, hvad de ikke gjorde for Liu Xiaobo:

Will Western leaders speak up for her? I fear not, any more than they forcefully spoke up for Liu Xiaobo himself.

If the way Liu died is an indictment of China’s repression, it also highlights the cravenness of Western leaders who were too cowed to raise his case in a meaningful manner. President Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hamburg at the G-20- summit and did not even let the name Liu Xiaobo pass his lips. For shame, all around.

På The New Yorker sætter bladets tidligere Kinakorrespondent, Evan Osnos, Liu ind i en historisk kontekst:

Liu’s case now takes its place in the history books in a manner that does a disservice to the ordinary men and women of China: he is the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die under confinement since Carl von Ossietzky, a German pacifist and an opponent of the Nazis, who died in 1938. Liu and von Ossietzky already shared a prize-related distinction—neither had been allowed to receive their Nobels in person—and their pairing on the pages of history is both correct and tragic: Liu’s countrymen are not Nazis, but his government neglected every opportunity to rescue him, or to avoid allowing itself and its people to be tarnished by the comparison.

Spørgsmålet er selvfølgelig, om politikere i Vesten og Danmark tør at forsvare de værdier, som de påstår at have:

Og svaret er – næppe. Penge og arbejdspladser kommer før værdier, demokrati og menneskerettigheder, som The Economist skriver i nekrologen over Liu:

Western governments have a long history of timidity and cynicism in their responses to China’s abysmal treatment of dissidents. In the 1980s, as China began to open to the outside world, Western leaders were so eager to win its support in their struggle against the Soviet Union that they made little fuss about China’s political prisoners. Why upset the reform-minded Deng Xiaoping by harping on about people like Wei Jingsheng, then serving a 15-year term for his role in the Democracy Wall movement, which had seen protests spread across China and which Deng had crushed in 1979?

The attitudes of Western leaders changed in 1989 when Deng suppressed the Tiananmen unrest, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Suddenly it was fashionable to complain about jailing dissidents (it helped that China seemed less important when the Soviet Union was crumbling). From time to time the government would release someone, in the hope of rehabilitating itself in the eyes of the world. Western leaders were grateful. They wanted to show their own people, still outraged by the slaughter in Beijing, that censure was working.

By the mid-1990s China’s economy was booming and commerce consigned dissidents to the margins once again. In the eyes of Western officials, China was becoming too rich to annoy. The world’s biggest firms were falling over themselves to enter its market. America, Britain and other countries set up “human-rights dialogues”—useful for separating humanitarian niceties from high-level dealmaking. The global financial crisis in 2008 tipped the balance further. The West began to see China as its economic saviour. Earlier this month leaders of the G20 group of countries, including China’s president, Xi Jinping, gathered in Germany for an annual meeting. There was not a peep from any of them about Mr Liu, whose terminal illness had just been made known.

I forlængelse af det er der denne kronik på CNN, som slår en sløjfe på The Economists argument om Vestens rolle over for Kina:

Since the financial crisis of 2008, China has grown in economic power and diplomatic self-confidence, while the West has been consumed in a vortex of its own internal squabbles and anxieties. Western countries have spent the years, fretting over the immigration and extremism resulting from almost two decades of constant warfare, and split by social and political division to a degree not seen in perhaps half a century. All of this anxiety manifested itself in such events as President Trump’s election and the Brexit decision.

To say the West has ceded global leadership suggests that there is a country to which it has ceded it. China, for its part, pretends to have taken that role, speaking out on issues such as climate change and free trade.

But every time China looks like it might be succeeding in taking its place on the world stage as a mature and confident global player, some internal issue — such as its treatment of Liu, or the government’s ongoing campaign against civil rights lawyers, or the extra-territorial abductions — will demonstrate just how unprepared, and how insecure, China’s leaders are.

It will be of some comfort to Beijing that, despite the expressions of grief and outrage at Liu’s passing, they will as usual be able to ride out this news cycle until the world’s attention moves on.


Hurtige klik fra Kina af Kim Rathcke Jensen. Jeg er journalist og BA i kinesisk. Jeg bor i Beijing, hvor jeg arbejder som Politikens korrespondent i Kina og Asien.

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