He was the first Nobel Peace laureate to die in state custody since Carl von Ossietzky, the German pacifist and foe of Nazism who won the prize in 1935 and died under guard in 1938 after years of maltreatment.
"No nation should be judged entirely by crimes of the past, but this crime, the death and silencing of Liu Xiaobo, should follow the Chinese Community Party like an unwashable, permanent stain", said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, defended the country on Friday from criticism over Liu's treatment. Liu was one of his country's best-known dissidents and became the only Chinese national to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
Liu's wife, the poet and artist Liu Xia, and his other relatives could not be reached Thursday evening.
He told a daily press briefing that China had lodged representations with "certain countries" over their comments relating to Liu's death.
Liu's death has triggered a flurry of calls from Western governments and officials for Beijing to let his wife leave China as she wishes. "The danger was extremely great", Liu Yunpeng said. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the Chinese government's delay in getting treatment to the imprisoned activist "the last barbaric violation of Dr. Liu's human rights".
"Xiaobo was wedded both psychically and physically to China and its fate", Geremie Barme, an Australian Sinologist and a close friend of Liu's, wrote in a tribute before Liu's death.
A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters Wednesday that Liu, who is suffering from advanced liver cancer, has asked to leave with his wife for treatment overseas.
The Chinese foreign ministry rejected the allegations, saying foreign countries were "in no position to make improper remarks" over the handling of Liu's case.
She suffers from depression.
"When I visited Xiaobo, she wouldn't get involved with our political discussions".
Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty said: "Today we grieve the loss of a giant of human rights".
Some members of pro-democracy movements told SBS World News they will ask the local council to change the name of the street the embassy is now located on in Sydney, to "Liu Xiaobo" street.
Liu had been a thorn in Beijing's side since 1989, when he helped negotiate a deal to allow protesters to leave Tiananmen Square before troops and tanks rolled in.
A drawing of Liu and his wife.
Almost seven years ago, neither Liu nor her husband's supporters foresaw the repercussions the award would have on her: a writer and artist who never considered herself a political person, who unflinchingly supported Liu Xiaobo but never actively participated in his campaigns.
World leaders have praised Liu and called on China to release his widow, Liu Xia, from house arrest. Although he never had the chance to attend the Nobel ceremony, he prepared a moving speech - one that was translated by the group Human Rights in China.
Well-known experts from China as well as Germany and the United States were also invited for joint consultations, said Liu, director of the medical oncology department of the hospital based in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province in northeast China.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg was under attack again on Friday by human rights activists who think she has betrayed her own government's human rights policy.
But Link says that Liu was able to transcend such acrimonious politics.