China on Friday brushed off criticism from the United States and some other foreign countries over the death of Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said China has already lodged "solemn representations" expressing "strong dissatisfaction" to the United States and other countries making "irresponsible" statements about its way of dealing with Liu and his illness.
At a press briefing, filled with questions about Liu from foreign journalists, Geng Shuang said the statements do not represent the voices of the international community, repeating many times that he was a "criminal" and going on to say that what he had done ran counter to the purpose of the peace prize.
The 61-year-old died of multiple organ failure on Thursday while serving a lengthy sentence for his writings promoting peaceful political reforms in China.
The dissident's supporters and foreign leaders mourned his death after he was denied permission to leave China for treatment for terminal liver cancer.
Following Liu's death, police have bolstered security in many parts of the country for possible protest activities and placed supporters of him under house arrest, Hu Jia, a famous Chinese activist, told Kyodo News.
Top foreign diplomats, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, have now stepped up calls on Beijing to release Liu's widow, Liu Xia, from house arrest and let her depart China in line with her wishes.
"Liu Xiaobo should have been allowed to choose his own medical treatment overseas, which the Chinese authorities repeatedly denied him," Johnson said in a statement. "This was wrong and I now urge them to lift all restrictions on his widow."
Whether Chinese authorities will comply with such requests is the next focus. Liu's wife, a poet, was put under house arrest in Beijing without trial after he won the 2010 prize.
The hospital in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, which treated Liu, told a press conference on Thursday night that he died at 5:35 p.m. surrounded by his family.
"Have a good life," it quoted Liu as saying in his final words to his wife.
Liu rose to prominence for his involvement in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.
The outspoken critic of China's Communist Party was last detained in December 2008 and was sentenced a year later to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power" for his role in drafting a manifesto calling for peaceful democratic reform, known as Charter 08.
Liu was awarded the peace prize in 2010 "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" while he was behind bars.
Despite his international reputation as a prominent intellectual, he is not well known among ordinary Chinese as Beijing has almost completely suppressed information about him.
China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported the death only in a brief English story, without touching on Liu's achievements, but noted that his condition continued to worsen despite all-out efforts by the country's "top-rated cancer experts."
No major newspapers in China other than the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid, ran stories about Liu on Friday.
The Global Times, affiliated with the Communist Party, published an editorial asserting that Liu was a "victim" led astray by the West.
"They used Liu's illness as a tool to boost their image and demonize China. They aren't really interested in prolonging Liu's life," the editorial said.
"Liu lived in an era when China witnessed the most rapid growth in recent history, but he attempted to confront Chinese mainstream society under Western support," it said. "This has determined his tragic life. Even if he could live longer, he would never have achieved his political goals that are in opposition to the path of history."