Archive for February 11th, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

“Freedom of Expression an Extremely Important Right”, but “Subject to Certain Lawful Restrictions”

Liu Xiaobo‘s (刘晓波) lawyer, Shang Baojun, told reporters that Mr Liu’s appeal to the High Court had been rejected with no change in his 11-year prison sentence passed on Christmas 2009 by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court, according to the Washington Post.

The China Global Times quotes a professor who is apparently a lawyer as saying that

[a]lthough freedom of expression was an extremely important right of Chinese citizens, and was protected by China’s Constitution and laws, Gao said citizens could not exercise the right without any kind of restrictions whatsoever,


[a]ccording to China’s Constitution, Chinese citizens’ exercise of their freedoms and rights should not infringe upon the interests of the state, of the society, and of the collective or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens,

and that

China’s Constitution was in line with the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which stated that the exercise of freedom of expression might be subject to certain lawful restrictions necessary for the respect of the rights or reputations of others and the protection of national security or public order.
Most countries in the world, including Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Singapore, had criminal laws aimed to stop people from insulting and slandering others, instigating ethnic hatred and discrimination, and subverting the government, said Gao.

The article offers no details about Liu Xiaobo’s allegedly “illegal statements”.

The U.S. embassy in Beijing issued a statement expressing disappointment by the Chinese government’s decision to uphold Liu Xiaobo’s sentence of 11 years in prison on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power”.

On December 24 last year, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu (姜瑜) told a regular press conference one day ahead of Liu Xiaobo’s sentence at first instance that statements by officials of foreign embassies were a gross interference in China’s domestic judicial affair and a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.


Teng Biao: Invalid Use of Testimony, Dec 27, 2009
Liu Xiaobo Short Bio, Dec 25, 2009

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