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AP Video via AP

Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese human rights activist who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize while imprisoned, died today at age 61 while still behind bars due to terminal liver cancer, per the NYT.

  • His accomplishments: Liu's activism for Chinese democracy stretched back to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, but his current prison sentence for "inciting subversion" stemmed from a 2008 charter he penned calling for democracy and an end to Chinese censorship.
  • A statement from his trial: "An enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation and inflame brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society's tolerance and humanity, and hinder a country's advance toward freedom and democracy."
  • His illness: Liu's cancer was announced by the Chinese government last year only after it became untreatable. He had ostensibly been granted medical parole due to his diagnosis, but remained under guard in a medical hospital until his death in the northeastern city of Shenyang.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.