July 13, 2017 / 3:44 PM / a month ago

Liu's death is testament to 'brutal' China: dissident Ai Weiwei

Chinese artist and free-speech advocate Ai Weiwei speaks about late Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo in his atelier in Berlin, Germany July 13, 2017.Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - The death of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo is a very difficult moment for Chinese human rights activists and a testament to China's brutality, dissident artist Ai Weiwei said on Thursday.

"Liu Xiaobo was not a criminal," Ai told Reuters in his Berlin studio. "He was a writer, an intellectual and he used his life to find ways to make society better."

Asked whether the Chinese government had contributed to Liu's death by preventing him from receiving treatment for late-stage liver cancer abroad, Ai said: "China showed how brutal its society can be."

He added: "This is a very difficult moment for Chinese human rights defenders."

Ai has been living in Germany since 2015.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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