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Taiwan president mourns Liu Xiaobo, says China won't be great until it accepts his ideas

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen released a statement late Thursday on the death of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Liu was diagnosed with liver cancer earlier this year and released on medical parole just weeks ago from an 11-year sentence for writing a charter promoting democracy. The hospital where he was being held against his will said Thursday night that Liu had died.

Tsai, the leader of the world's only Chinese-speaking democracy, said she mourned his passing.

"Tonight, together with everyone that cares about human rights in China, we mourn the tragic passing of Liu Xiaobo. I want to pay my highest respects to this tireless advocate for human rights," Tsai said in a statement that she also posted to Twitter.

"I also wish to express my deepest condolences to his family, particularly Ms. Liu Xia who is currently still under house arrest.

"In 2010, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At the ceremony, the attention of the whole world was drawn on the empty chair. Sadly, he will never have a chance to claim his seat."

She then referred to the "Chinese Dream," a term popularized by Chinese leader Xi Jinping. But whereas Xi vaguely defined this dream as working toward a stronger Communist Party-controlled country, she defined it as the kind of democratic China that Liu had strived for.

"In 'No Enemies, No Hared,' he once said 'I firmly believe that China's political progress will never stop, and I'm full of optimistic expectations of freedom coming to China in the future, because no force can block the human desire for freedom. China will eventually become a country of the rule of law in which human rights are supreme.

"This was Liu Xiaobo's Chinese Dream. We hope that the Chinese authorities can show confidence in engaging in political reform so that the Chinese people can enjoy the God-given rights of freedom and democracy. This will be a turning point in cross-strait relations. The Chinese Dream is not supposed to be about military might. It should be about taking ideas like those from Liu Xiaobo into consideration. Only through democracy, in which every Chinese person has freedom and respect, can China truly become a proud and important country.

"If the Chinese dream is democracy, then Taiwan will provide any assistance necessary to achieve this objective. I believe that this is what he would have wanted.

"Liu Xiaobo had no enemies, because democracy has no enemies. Again, I offer my respects towards his commitment to his ideals."

Tsai had previously said Taiwan would be willing to aid in Liu's treatment.

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