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China: Release Prisoner of Conscience Liu Xiaobo

    Monday, November 12, 2012 - 00:00

    Lui Xiaobo is the co-author of Charter 08 which calls for effective protection of universal human rights and democratic reform. The Court considered Charter 08 “slanderous” and an attempt to incite the subversion of the current regime. In six articles, Liu Xiaobo criticized corruption, censorship and one-party rule and advocated developing a democratic multi party political system. The Court considered this ”rumour mongering, slander and smear” which exceeded the limits of freedom of expression, constituting a criminal offence.

    Liu Xiaobo is held in Jinzhou Prison, in Liaoning province, north-east China. On completion of his sentence, he will also be deprived of political rights for two years.  The day of his sentence, the state-controlled Xinhua news agency reported that the Court had “strictly followed legal procedures" and had "fully protected Liu's litigation rights". This disregarded the fact that Liu Xiaobo had been detained without charge or trial for a whole year and that the authorities barred representation by the lawyer his family initially authorized to represent him. His wife, Liu Xia was also prevented from attending the trial.

    Police took Liu Xiaobo from his home in Beijing on 8 December 2008, two days before the International Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was the intended launch date for Charter 08. On 9 December 2008, the police placed him under "residential surveillance", a form of house arrest for criminal suspects and defendants. However, contrary to relevant provisions in China’s Criminal Procedure Law, Liu Xiaobo was removed from his home and family, the authorities did not disclose where he was detained, they held him beyond the six month limit and denied him any access to his legal representatives. During this period, he was only allowed to meet with his wife twice. Contrary to Supreme People’s Court interpretations, this period was not off set against Liu Xiaobo’s prison sentence.

    Lui Xiaobo's wife Liu Xia has been under illegal house arrest since 8 October 2010, the day Liu Xiaobo was announced as the Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2010.

    Take Action

    Please write to the Chinese authorities, urging them to:

    • release Liu Xiaobo immediately and unconditionally;
    • lift surveillance and all restrictions on Liu Xia’s freedom of movement, freedom of expression and association;
    • take effective measures to ensure freedom of expression in line with Chinese constitutional guarantees and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed and declared an intention to ratify in the near future;
    • take effective measures to ensure that all human rights defenders, including Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, can carry out their peaceful activities without fear of hindrance, intimidation, arbitrary detention or imprisonment and in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
    • if possible use Chinese characters to refer to Liu Xiaobo

    Please send letters to both of  the following:

    Li Keqiang 李克強
    The State Council General Office
    2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu
    Beijingshi 100017
    People's Republic of China 

    Salutation: Dear Priemier


    His Excellency Junsai Zhang
    Ambassador for the People's Republic of China
    515 St. Patrick Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5H3
    Fax:                 (613) 789-1911

    Salutation: Your Excellency

    More Background

    This is the fourth time Liu Xiaobo has been detained as a prisoner of conscience.

    He was first detained after the 1989 pro-democracy movement. Returning from the USA where he was a visiting scholar, he joined protestors in Tiananmen Square and went on a hunger strike to protest looming repression of the demonstrations by the
    People’s Liberation Army (PLA). On the night of 3 June he negotiated the peaceful evacuation of Tiananmen Square with the
    PLA. However, the movement still came to a violent end after the PLA fired live ammunition on peaceful protesters in the streets
    around Tiananmen Square, killing many hundreds and injuring thousands.

    For Liu Xiaobo, like many others of his generation, June 1989 was a “major turning point”. He has since written prolifically, criticizing corruption, censorship and one-party rule and advocating the development of a democratic multi-party political system in China. He served as the President of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre from 2003 to 2007.

    Although best known for his calls for political reform, Liu Xiaobo has also defended other human rights. He has spoken out against
    discrimination faced by migrant workers and people living with HIV/Aids. He has also defended workers protesting against corrupt

    Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 8 October 2010 for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. He was informed the following day by prison guards.