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Canada: Liu Xiaobo Empty Chair Memorial Unveiling Ceremony

    August 12, 2019

    Amnesty International, PEN Canada and Toronto Association for Democracy in China are pleased to announce the unveiling of the Liu Xiaobo Empty Chair Memorial on:

    Date:               Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 2 p.m.

    Location:        Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa

    Speakers:

    Setsuko Thurlow, recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons;

    Wang Juntao, political activist and friend of Liu during the 1989 pro-democracy movement;

    Ti‑Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Binzhang, political prisoner and founder of Chinese pro-democracy movement overseas;

    Senator Con Di Nino

    Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    Richard Stursberg, Chair, PEN Canada

    Winnie Ng, Chair, Toronto Association for Democracy in China

    Writer, literary critic, philosopher and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo co-wrote Charter 08, a manifesto calling for freedom of expression, human rights, and political reforms in China. He was arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2009.

    Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Chinese government refused to allow him to travel Oslo to receive the prize. His absence was marked by an empty chair on stage during the award ceremony.

    Liu died in prison on July 13, 2017.

    The Liu Xiaobo Memorial is a bronze replica of the “empty chair” by Ruth Abernethy, a Canadian sculptor whose iconic works include the Glenn Gould statue at CBC in Toronto, the Oscar Peterson statue at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, as well as the Goddess of Democracy at York University, Toronto.

    “Liu Xiaobo – be it through the courage of his activism, the injustice of his imprisonment, the power of his Nobel Prize, the heartbreak of his forced separation from Liu Xia or the tragedy of his death in custody in China – has long embodied the very essence of the global human rights struggle,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada. “Drawing on his legacy, the Empty Chair will be an evocative public reminder of our collective responsibility to insist that universal human rights be upheld, at all times and by all governments. It will offer a place for passersby to reflect and to make a commitment to act for rights and justice. Amnesty International is deeply honoured to host this magnificent sculpture, combining the beauty of art with a crucial message of our shared humanity.”

    Media contact: Cheuk Kwan, (416) 804 1527 ckwan@tissa.com

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