BEIJING (AFP) - Even in his "final statement" before he was jailed in 2009, China's renowned democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo remained optimistic that his Communist-ruled country would one day be free.
Behind bars, Mr Liu was not allowed to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in December 2010.
On that occasion, an actress read out his December 2009 statement, "I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement", while an empty chair symbolised his presence.
On Thursday (July 13), the words of the man who died in custody after a battle with cancer echoed strongly around the globe as the United Nations hailed his activism as "the true embodiment" of democratic values.
In the statement, Mr Liu had written: "I firmly believe that China's political progress will not stop, and I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future free China.
"For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme."
Addressing his poet wife Liu Xia, placed under house arrest in 2010, Mr Liu added that he felt "no regrets about the choices I've made and optimistically awaiting tomorrow".
He said: "I look forward to (the day) when my country is a land with freedom of expression, where every citizen can state political views without fear, and where no one can under any circumstances suffer political persecution for voicing divergent political views."
Said the former literature professor whose books are banned in China: "I hope that I will be the last victim of China's endless literary inquisitions and that from now on no one will be incriminated because of speech."