As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others in Washington mourned the death of the long-imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a Communist Party-affiliated newspaper in Beijing said the Nobel peace prize laureate had been "kidnapped" by the West and bestowed with "a halo which will not linger".
The 61-year-old democracy activist died yesterday from liver cancer while under heavy police guard at a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang - but most Chinese remain clueless about his death or even who he was.
His wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest in 2010, but she was allowed to see him at the hospital.
Liu Xia's parents both died over the a year ago, and the poet, who was never interested in politics, has suffered from depression, according to friends.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".
"Liu Xia was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, and has developed severe depression due to her cruel treatment", the group said. "In the end, his words and deeds may have garnered him a Nobel Prize, yet in an authoritarian system, one that since 1989 has oscillated merely between the poles of the cruel and the pitiless, they sealed his fate".
But Republican Chris Smith, chairman of the House foreign affairs subcommittee on global human rights, which hosted the hearing, offered a fiery denunciation, blasting the communist government for its "extraordinary assault" on the rule of law and human rights.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg has all but turned her back on criticism of how she has handled the illness and death of Nobel Peace Prize victor Liu Xiaobo.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing lodged official protests with the United States, France, Germany and the United Nations human rights office over their "irresponsible remarks" regarding Liu Xiaobo, and he took aim at his Nobel status. What we have in common is as various as our differences, but one of thing we share is our belief in the power of writing to challenge those things that limit, oppress, destroy, and deny.
He died of multiple organ failure due to liver cancer Thursday.
Not all online posts were sympathetic to Liu, a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests whose advocacy for democratic reform infuriated the government.
"But we will continue fighting for freedom for your love Liu Xia".
"Tonight we, together with all those concerned with human rights in China, are feeling deep sorrow over Mr Liu Xiaobo's death", Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said. Reflecting on their lives in a poem, she said, "I like to draw trees; why?"
"The reaction to his illness shows how much he was respected", said Cui Weiping, a former professor of literature in Beijing who knew Liu and now lives in Los Angeles. 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.
Below is a look at milestones in the drive for greater Chinese political freedom, openness and accountability beginning with the 1978 democracy movement up to the present day, along with Liu's role.
"He was known then as a rebel, the black horse of the literary scene", says Perry Link, a China scholar at Princeton and the University of California Riverside who has translated Liu's works into English.
Germany had said it was prepared to welcome Liu for medical treatment after he was transferred from prison to hospital after a terminal liver cancer diagnosis.
In mainland China, worldwide reports on Liu Xiaobo's death have been censored, and local media have carried virtually no reports apart from sparse coverage in English, correspondents say.