Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo has been freed from prison on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.
The human rights campaigner was jailed in 2009 on subversion charges for calling for greater democracy; he is now being treated in hospital in northern Liaoning Province after being diagnosed a month ago.
His wife Liu Xia has been under house arrest since her husband won the award in 2010 but has never been charged. Liu Xiaobo, 61, was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.
The Nobel committee said Liu Xiaobo was “the foremost symbol” of the human rights struggle in China. He never collected his prize and was represented by an empty chair. The Chinese government, which regards him as a criminal, was infuriated by the award.
He had three years left to serve of an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion”after drafting Charter 08 – which called for multi-party democracy and respect for human rights in China.