Liu Xiaobo (1955–2017) was a Chinese poet, essayist, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. (September 2017)



Between the gray walls
and a burst of chopping sounds,
morning comes, bundled and sliced,
and vanishes with the paralyzed souls
of the chopped vegetables.

Liu Xiaobo’s Last Text

Liu Xiaobo, circa 1999; photograph by Liu Xia from her ‘Ugly Babies’ series
This text is the last thing that Liu Xiaobo, the literary critic, poet, and human rights activist, wrote. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, two years after he was imprisoned for eleven years on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” His “crime” was to speak out for freedom of speech, basic human rights, and democratic elections. He died on July 13 of liver cancer in a hospital in Shenyang.