Search Results for “"Liu Xiaobo"”

Friday, July 14, 2017

Liu Xiaobo, 1955 – 2017

It won’t be long before Liu Xiaobo‘s first post-mortem biography will be published. But it won’t have the last word. There will be further biographies, and each of them will be contested. That’s because of the man himself, and because of his country. He was a man with a conscience, and his country has been a totalitarian dictatorship for nearly seven decades – if you count the KMT’s martial law in, it’s been a dictatorship for much longer than that.

Liu Xiaobo’s political lifespan lasted for three or four decades. That doesn’t count as long in China. The Communist Party’s propaganda works tirelessly to create and sustain the “People’s Republic’s” population’s imagination of a civilizational history of five or more millenia. And at the same time, the party needs to sustain the notion that the most recent seven decades had been the best in China’s history. Not only the past fourty, after the leadership’s decision to “reform and to open up”, but the past seven decades, including Maoism. CCP propaganda’s aim is to build an image of its rule where the pre- and post-1978 decades are one political unit, without substantial contradictions within.

In all likelihood, Liu Xiaobo had foreseen that trend. Many Chinese dissidents, no matter if opponents of China’s cultural restauration, or opponents of the KMT’s military dictatorship on Taiwan, saw a Chinese complacency at work, considering itself the center of the universe.

Cultural criticism is rarely a rewarding trade, but in China, it can be lethal, as shown in Liu Xiaobo’s case.

Liu’s last camp and prison term, which began in 2009 and ended with his relase on medical parole, with cancer in its final stage, had been based on the accusation that he had “incited subversion of state power”. But the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court’s verdict – passed on Christmas day of 2009, probably to keep the level of international attention as low as possible –  only reflected the CCP’s fear of Liu, not the likely divide between the dissident and his people. A likely divide only, because in a totalitarian dictatorship, these things are more uncertain than in an open society. Hu Jia, himself a dissident who spent more than three years in prison from 2007 to 2011, noted during Liu’s dying days that only about one out of a hundred Beijingers knew who Liu Xiaobo was. Michael Bristow, the BBC’s China correspondent  in 2011, made a similar observation back then.

The 1980s mostly came across as a period of economic optimism, but accompanied by phenomena that were viewed negatively – particularly corruption, which was one of the factors that propelled the June-4 movement at its beginning.

Liu’s answer to what was frequently seen as China’s ailments was “westernization”. Stays in Western countries seem to have intensified his idea, just as Deng Xiaoping is said to have had his own cultural shock when visiting Singapore, in 1978.

But there lies a difference between the great statesman, and the great dissident. Singapore, a highly developed city state led by a family clan, is a model not only for authoritarian Chinese nationals – Taiwanese law-and-order-minded people tend to prefer Singapore as a holiday destination, rather than “messy” Hong Kong.

Liu Xiaobo’s model of development was Hong Kong of the 1980s. It was also the crown colony that provided the intellectual in his early thirties with some public resonance. In one of the interviews, given by Liu to a magazine named Kaifang at the time, Liu made statements that astonished the interviewer:

Q. Under what circumstances can China carry out a genuine historical transformation?
A. Three hundred years of colonialism.  Hong Kong became like this after one hundred years of colonialism.  China is so much larger, so obviously it will take three hundred years of colonialism.  I am still doubtful whether three hundred years of colonialism will be enough to turn China into Hong Kong today.

Q. This is 100% “treason.”
A. I will cite one sentence from Marx’s Manifesto of the Communist Party: “Workers do not have motherlands.  You cannot take away what they don’t have.”  I care about neither patriotism nor treason.  If you say that I betray my country, I will go along!  I admit that I am an impious son who dug up his ancestors’ graves and I am proud of it.

Both the “insults” and Liu’s expressly stated pessimism probably made for a divide between him and many Chinese (as far as they got to know his story). Or, as Roland Soong, a blogger from Hong Kong, noted next to his translation of the 1988 interview, as of 2010, “I suggest that unless Charter 08 (or any other message) can connect with many people in other social strata, it will remain a mental exercise among ‘public intellectuals.'”

And nothing works in the modern middle kingdom, unless it comes with a festive up-with-people sound. (In that sense, China is globalizing indeed.)

When Soong translated the interview quoted from above, and added his assessment of the Charter 08, the global financial crisis had been wreaking havoc on Western economies for about two years, and at least one of the Charter’s demands had fallen from the tree since: #14 called for

Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.

There wasn’t necessarily a conflict on this matter, between the party leadership and the authors of the Charter – time will show how the CCP is going to handle the remaining state sector of the economy. But among everyday Chinese people, this demand would hardly strike a chord. Besides, who can imagine a transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership “in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner”?

In the Charter’s preface, the authors wrote:

The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.

It was a cautious description of the status quo: Liu and his co-authors understood that only a critical minority would side with them. And indeed, there was more to endure in the pipeline. The educational dictatorship China is now entering encourages anticipatory obedience rather than awareness, and it is likely to succeed. When you keep beating people up long enough – and provide them with a hopeful perspective for the future -, there is little that can help people of conscience to counter the propaganda.

This may be the main difference between Liu and his enemies (and many of his admirers, too): in the eyes of many, only hard power – no matter if you refer to it as “the people’s power” or as the “authorities” -, creates reality. If the realities are good, you don’t need to get involved. If they are evil, you can’t get involved. And when realities come in many shades of grey, you either needn’t or can’t get involved. The power of the powerless is no reality in these peoples’ world – unless they begin to tilt, so that re-orientation appears advisable.

That’s a stabilizing factor, so long as realities remain what they appear to be.  But appearances can be deceiving, often until the very last hour. Who of the Egyptians who ditched their longtime president in 2011, in colossal demonstrations, had known weeks before that he wanted to get rid of him? A mood had capsized. It wasn’t about awareness.

A manipulated and intimidated public tends to be unpredictable, and that can turn factors around that were originally meant to add to “stability”.

China’s leaders feared Liu Xiaobo. They feared him to the extent that they wouldn’t let him leave the country, as long as he could still speak a word. But in all likelihood, they fear China’s widespread, politically tinged, religious sects even more, which have a tradition at least as long as Chinese scholarship. Falun Gong is only one of its latest manifestations.

By suppressing public intellectuals not only before 1978, but after that, too, they provided space for nervous moodiness. The Communists themselves want to “guide” (i. e. control) public awareness, without leaving anything to chance.

But chance is inevitable. Totalitarian routine may be able to cope for some time, but is likely to fail in the long run, with disastrous consequences.

In that light, the CCP missed opportunities to reform and modernize the country. But then, the party’s totalitarian skeleton made sure that they could only see the risks, and no opportunities, in an opening society.

What remains from Charter 08 – for now – is the courage shown by its authors nine years ago, and by the citizens who affirmed it with their signatures.

Each of them paid a price, to varying degrees, and often, their families and loved ones did so, too: like Liu Xia, who had hoped that her husband would not get involved in drafting the Charter, but who would never dissociate herself from him.

Nobody is obligated to show the same degree of courage, unless solidarity or conscience prescribe it. In most cases, making such demands on oneself would be excessive. But those who hate the Lius for their courage – and for lacking this courage themselves – should understand that their hatred is wrong. One may keep still as a citizen – but there is an inevitable human duty to understand the difference between right and wrong. By denying our tolerance toward despotism and by repressing awareness of our own acquiescence, we deny ourselves even the small steps into the right direction, that could be taken without much trouble, or economic hardship.

May Liu Xiaobo never be forgotten – and may Liu Xia find comfort and recovery.

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Updates/Related

再生:致刘晓波, Woeser, July 13, 2017
Rebirth, Woeser/Boyden, July 16, 2017
Wiedergeburt, Woeser/Forster, July 27, 2017
The abuse hasn’t stopped, Wu Gan, July 25, 2017

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Liu Xiaobo: Nobel Laureates write to Xi Jinping

An open letter to Xi Jinping by 134 Nobel laureates, as published by Reporters Sans Frontières.

December 4, 2012

The Honorable Xi Jinping General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu, Beijing City People’s Republic of China

Dear Mr. Xi,

As you have taken the first step towards assuming the presidency of the People’s Republic of China, we write to welcome the prospect of fresh leadership and new ideas. To that end, we respectfully urge you to release Dr. Liu Xiaobo, the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and his wife, Liu Xia.

On December 25, 2009, your government sentenced Dr. Liu, a highly respected intellectual and democracy advocate, to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion.” The charges were based on his political essays and co-authorship of “Charter 08,” which called for peaceful political reform in China based on the principles of human rights, freedom, and democracy. Shortly after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Dr. Liu its Peace Prize, the government placed Liu Xia under house arrest, where she remains cut off from the outside world two years later without charge or the benefit of any legal process.

In response to the continued detentions of Dr. Liu and Liu Xia, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, an independent and impartial body of experts, issued Opinions No. 15-16/2011, finding their detentions to be in violation of international law ; however, despite this finding their cases remain unresolved.

Across all disciplines, the distinguishing feature which led to our recognition as Nobel Laureates is that we have embraced the power of our intellectual freedom and creative inspiration to do our part to advance the human condition. No government can restrict freedom of thought and association without having a negative effect on such important human innovation. Indeed, we Laureates are distressed that your government continues to block access to the main Nobel Prize web site (www.nobelprize.org). During former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States in 2011, he recognized that “a lot still needs to be done in China on human rights.” While we welcome such honest assessments, we hope that China’s new political leadership will move past merely recognizing the problem and seize this important opportunity to take concrete steps towards embracing the fundamental rights of all Chinese citizens. An essential first step is the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.

Sincerely,

134 Nobel Prize Laureates ( Name, Category, Prize Year ) Peter Agre Chemistry 2003 Thomas R. Cech Chemistry 1989 Martin Chalfie Chemistry 2008 Aaron Ciechanover Chemistry 2004 Paul J. Crutzen Chemistry 1995 Robert F. Curl Jr. Chemistry 1996 Johann Deisenhofer Chemistry 1988 2 of 4 Richard R. Ernst Chemistry 1991 Gerhard Ertl Chemistry 2007 Walter Gilbert Chemistry 1980 Robert H. Grubbs Chemistry 2005 Dudley R. Herschbach Chemistry 1986 Avram Hershko Chemistry 2004 Roald Hoffmann Chemistry 1981 Robert Huber Chemistry 1988 Roger D. Kornberg Chemistry 2006 Sir Harold Kroto Chemistry 1996 Yuan T. Lee Chemistry 1986 Mario J. Molina Chemistry 1995 Kary B. Mullis Chemistry 1993 John C. Polanyi Chemistry 1986 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Chemistry 2009 Richard R. Schrock Chemistry 2005 Jens C. Skou Chemistry 1997 Thomas A. Steitz Chemistry 2009 Roger Y. Tsien Chemistry 2008 Sir John E. Walker Chemistry 1997 Kurt Wuthrich Chemistry 2002 Ada E. Yonath Chemistry 2009 Kenneth J. Arrow Economics 1972 Peter A. Diamond Economics 2010 Daniel Kahneman Economics 2002 Finn E. Kydland Economics 2004 Robert E. Lucas Jr. Economics 1995 Harry M. Markowitz Economics 1990 Eric S. Maskin Economics 2007 Daniel L. McFadden Economics 2000 James A. Mirrlees Economics 1996 Dale T. Mortensen Economics 2010 Roger B. Myerson Economics 2007 Douglass C. North Economics 1993 Thomas J. Sargent Economics 2011 Thomas C. Schelling Economics 2005 Vernon L. Smith Economics 2002 Oliver E. Williamson Economics 2009 J. M. Coetzee Literature 2003 Gunter Grass Literature 1999 Elfriede Jelinek Literature 2004 Toni Morrison Literature 1993 Herta Muller Literature 2009 Tomas Transtromer Literature 2011 3 of 4 Mario Vargas Llosa Literature 2010 David Baltimore Medicine 1975 Francoise Barre-Sinoussi Medicine 2008 J. Michael Bishop Medicine 1989 Gunter Blobel Medicine 1999 Sydney Brenner Medicine 2002 Linda B. Buck Medicine 2004 Sir Martin J. Evans Medicine 2007 Andrew Z. Fire Medicine 2006 Edmond H. Fischer Medicine 1992 Alfred G. Gilman Medicine 1994 Paul Greengard Medicine 2000 Carol W. Greider Medicine 2009 Roger Guillemin Medicine 1977 Sir John B. Gurdon Medicine 2012 Leland H. Hartwell Medicine 2001 Harald zur Hausen Medicine 2008 H. Robert Horvitz Medicine 2002 David H. Hubel Medicine 1981 Tim Hunt Medicine 2001 Louis J. Ignarro Medicine 1998 Eric R. Kandel Medicine 2000 Rita Levi-Montalcini Medicine 1986 Craig C. Mello Medicine 2006 Joseph E. Murray Medicine 1990 Erwin Neher Medicine 1991 Sir Paul Nurse Medicine 2001 Christiane Nusslein-Volhard Medicine 1995 Stanley B. Prusiner Medicine 1997 Sir Richard J. Roberts Medicine 1993 Hamilton O. Smith Medicine 1978 John E. Sulston Medicine 2002 Jack W. Szostak Medicine 2009 E. Donnall Thomas Medicine 1990 J. Robin Warren Medicine 2005 Eric F. Wieschaus Medicine 1995 Torsten N. Wiesel Medicine 1981 Amnesty International Peace 1977 Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo Peace 1996 Mairead Maguire Peace 1976 Shirin Ebadi Peace 2003 Leymah Roberta Gbowee Peace 2011 Tawakkul Karman Peace 2011 The 14th Dalai Lama Peace 1989 4 of 4 Jose Ramos-Horta Peace 1996 Desmond Tutu Peace 1984 Elie Wiesel Peace 1986 Betty Williams Peace 1976 Jody Williams Peace 1997 Zhores I. Alferov Physics 2000 Leon N. Cooper Physics 1972 James Cronin Physics 1980 Jerome I. Friedman Physics 1990 Andre Geim Physics 2010 Riccardo Giacconi Physics 2002 Donald A. Glaser Physics 1960 Sheldon Glashow Physics 1979 Roy J. Glauber Physics 2005 David J. Gross Physics 2004 John L. Hall Physics 2005 Serge Haroche Physics 2012 Antony Hewish Physics 1974 Gerardus ’t Hooft Physics 1999 Brian D. Josephson Physics 1973 Charles K. Kao Physics 2009 Wolfgang Ketterle Physics 2001 Klaus von Klitzing Physics 1985 Leon M. Lederman Physics 1988 Anthony J. Leggett Physics 2003 John C. Mather Physics 2006 Douglas D. Osheroff Physics 1996 William D. Phillips Physics 1997 H. David Politzer Physics 2004 Robert C. Richardson Physics 1996 Adam G. Riess Physics 2011 Heinrich Rohrer Physics 1986 Brian P. Schmidt Physics 2011 Jack Steinberger Physics 1988 Joseph H. Taylor Jr. Physics 1993 Charles H. Townes Physics 1964 Steven Weinberg Physics 1979 Frank Wilczek Physics 2004 Robert Woodrow Wilson Physics 1978

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Related tag: Liu Xiaobo

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Liu Xiaobo and the Confraternization of Nations

My new book is the elephant in the room that official Norway – politicians, most media, academics – are adamant not to see,

Frederik S. Heffermehl wrote in a guest commentary for News in English, a Norwegian website, on December 10. The purpose of the prize, i. e. Nobel’s will, had been global disarmament based on international law and institutions. Heffermehl warned that the continuing silence maintained by Thorbjørn Jagland and Geir Lundestad, the chair and secretary of the committee, and the absence of a public debate, was undermining democracy. Without a certain respect for facts, truth and honest debate, democracy cannot function, he wrote.

On his website, Heffermehl points out that a will may need to be reinterpreted according to changed realities, but adds that the realities Nobel was facing when establishing the Peace Nobel Prize hadn’t changed at all.

[T]he goal of the interpretation of a will is to find out what the testator intended, the purpose he or she had in mind. To describe the recipients he had in mind Nobel created a Swedish word, fredsförfäktare (‘‘champions of peace’’). Under the law it is both improper and illegal for the Nobel Committee to ignore the specific expression that Nobel actually used, champions of peace, and instead give its own content to the much less specific term ‘‘peace prize.’’ The committee is guilty of an unauthorized change of its mandate.

Criteria for choosing a winner are neatly listed there, and not easy to be found elsewhere.

It should be pointed out that Heffermehl does not criticize Liu Xiaobo, this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He criticizes – and has long criticized – what he considers a deviation in our times, from Nobel’s original will.

The criteria listed by Heffermehl had, he writes, been left to help the Nobel Committee understand what Nobel had in mind. Going by the criteria, I think the award to Liu Xiaobo is actually justified.

1. The greatest benefit on Mankind

It is justified to think of Liu as a man who during the expired year has conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. In a country where nationalism is rampant, and every move or utterance against it considered treason, by the authorities and many “ordinary people”, Liu wasn’t shy to speak his mind. With the charter 08, in the drafting of which he played a leading role, he spelled out what it takes to help people find peace with themselves, and those who govern. Censorship, propaganda, and victimization by countless relative powerless people by relatively more powerful ones has led to a climate in China which is continuously searching for scapegoats. Conveniently, and thanks to propaganda and censorship, much of the anger is now projected on people and powers abroad. Liu has now served the first out of eleven years for speaking truth for power.

Many people elsewhere are no less brave in their search for peace than Liu Xiaobo, and suffer no less than he does. Many people elsewhere actually pay with their lives. But if Heffermehl’s challenge to the Nobel Committee is the elephant in the official Norway’s room, Liu’s contribution is big, too, because his country is the new elephant in the room of the global economy and global politics,  and because many of Liu’s compatriots are or were unaware of the efforts he and other human-rights activists made. Many of his compatriots condemn his efforts, out of fear of “foreign conspiracies” against China.

2. Champions of Peace

There is no civil society in China that would address the requirements for peace. The Chinese Communist Party decides what contributes to peace within and without. Non-governmental involvement is only a theory. The steps a man or a woman can take in China had been taken by people like Liu. He had helped to draft the Charter. He had spoken “truth to power” – and he spoke his sometimes juicy, but frequently thought-provoking (if you are willing to think) opinion to the very small Chinese “public” that was technically in a position to take note of his opinion.

The verdict brought by Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court in December last year wasn’t specific. It is possible that it only took the drafting of the Charter 08 into consideration. It is also possible that it took everything from 1989 (or even d1988) to 2008 into consideration. Liu’s eleven-year prison sentence comes across as a culminative reaction to his work – and the Nobel Peace Prize may count as a culminative appraisal of it.

3. Confraternization of Nations

Given the secrecy of the Chinese state, the state surveillance of its media – mass media and individula media such as cellphones alike -, news and information is often hard to verify. But Liu Xiaobo did make contributions to the confraternization of nations even within China. Liu linked Han-Chinese human rights and Tibetan rights, according to Woeser:

I still remember that night when he asked me in his stammering voice on Skype to please sign my name under “Charter 08” as a sign of respect and trust towards him and in memory of his long support of and consideration for the Tibetan issue. I signed my name without any hesitation. Shortly afterwards, he was arrested in his home and one year later, concealed by the haze of Christmas celebrations, he was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.

Liu Xiaobo, once again, isn’t the only human-rights activists who considers every Chinese citizen’s human rights, regardless of nationality. In several cases, Han-Chinese lawyers volunteered to defend Tibetan culprits in “politically sensitive” cases. When reading what Dolkar Tso, wife of an imprisoned Tibetan businessman, reportedly wrote early this year, it gives you an idea as of how feelings can contribute to peace among people with different civilizational backgrounds, or how feelings can stirr hatred between them.

But while Liu Xiaobo isn’t the only Han-Chinese stakeholder who cares, he is, again, an outstanding citizen of an important country. He doesn’t fear his own country. He doesn’t fear the outside world. He says that he has no enemies, and no hatred. To be able to handle ones own fears is a prerequisite for confaternization.

4. Abolition of Standing Armies

Here, interpretation comes into play, indeed. No big and no small country worldwide is in the mood to advocate the abolition of standing armies – not even Costa Rica, which has no standing army of its own. That Liu isn’t calling for disbanding standing armies doesn’t disqualify him.

5. The Holding and Promotion of Peace Congresses

Every statesman, no matter his record otherwise, can probably be praised for his or her support of one or another peace congress. Liu is, for obvious reasons, in no position to hold or promote peace congresses.

All that said, Heffermehl’s objections to the Nobel Committee’s work do seem to require public debate in Norway. I believe that the right man got the prize in 2010, but for the reasons I’ve given here myself. The problem for the committee in actually “justifying” its choices, I believe, is to state its reasons, but without “offending” powers that be. This is particularly true the case with  China which raises hell in such situations. But when looking at the list of winners since 1960, you can frequently appreciate the temptation for a jury to keep its explanations pussy-footed.

China reportedly suspended trade talks with Norway indefinitely in November. No matter if “cultural relativism”, business interests, or anything else are reasons for the Committee’s  ways of communication – they need to be discussed in a democracy, if democracy is to function.

Liu Xiaobo is the first Han-Chinese winner of a Nobel. When thinking about the Nobel Peace Prize, can you think of other Chinese citizens who deserve the prize, too, or instead?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Nobel Peace Prize 2010 awarded to Liu Xiaobo

The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Press release, Norwegian Nobel Committee, October 8, 2010

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Update / Related
Back in Prison – Liu Xiaobo short bio, Dec 25, 2009

Friday, June 4, 2010

Liu Xiaobo transferred to Liaoning Province

Liu Xia (刘霞), Liu Xiaobo‘s (刘晓波) wife, has talked with her husband in Jinzhou (锦州), Liaoning Province, for an hour on Wednesday. Her husband had been transferred from Beijing to a Jinzhou prison, some 500 kilometers from Beijing, about a week earlier. Only family matters were allowed to be talked about during their meeting, writes Die Welt. The BBC‘s Chinese service quotes Liu Xia as saying that the Chinese authorities had given her no explanation as to why Liu Xiaobo was transferred to Liaoning Province. Liu Xia supplied her husband with several pieces of clothing and some books officially published in China, reports the BBC.

The couple had had an opportunity to have lunch together on New Year’s Day in January 2009, and the last time they had met before last Wednesday was in February this year, when Liu Xiaobo’s appeal was heard and rejected.

According to Die Welt, an official explanation for Liu’s transferral is that he had been registered in Liaoning Province from an early age. However, the paper quotes presumptions that the transferral was in fact a political signal that there would be no rehabilitation of people who had been involved with June 4, and that the tough verdict of eleven years in prison (the term Liu is now serving) had nothing to do with the Charter 08, but rather with June 4, 1989. Liu Xiaobo took part in a hungerstrike in solidarity with the movement 21 years ago.

He is now entitled to two yard exercises a day, and to see his wife monthly, writes Die Welt.

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Related
Professional Background, Current Status, Pen American Center, cont. updated
Liu Xiaobo Short Bio, Dec 25, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Back in Prison – Liu Xiaobo Short Bio

Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), president of the Chinese Independent Pen Center, once a lecturer at Beijing Normal  University,  and political commentator, has been sentenced to eleven years in  jail for “inciting subversion of state power” (煽动颠覆国家政权). Liu co-published the Charter 08 (零八宪章). He was arrested on December 8, 2008, before the charter’s formal release. The police had ended the “investigation phase” earlier this month. Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court announced the sentence today. Xinhua News Agency quoted a statement by the court that Liu’s legal rights had been fully guaranteed during the proceedings.

More than twenty years ago, shortly before the Tian An Men massacre on June 4, 1989, Liu returned from a visiting scholarship at Columbia University and took part in a hungerstrike in solidarity with the students’ movement, according to CNA. He was jailed for “counter-revolutionary crimes” (反革命罪), and released from prison in January 1991.

He refused to leave his country after his release from prison, campaigned for a re-evaluation of the official version of the “June-4 incident”, and was imprisoned again from May 18, 1995 to January 1996.

Also according to CNA, Liu was held in a labor camp in Dalian from October 8, 1996 to October 10, 1999, after authoring Anti-Corruption Proposals Addressed to the Third Plenary Session of the Eighth National People’s Congress, and Bloody Lessons from the Process of the Promotion of Democracy and the Rule of Law – an Appeal on June-4’s Sixth Anniversary (「汲取血的教訓推進民主與法治進程–「六四」6週年呼籲書」).

Now he is back in prison.

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Related:
“One day, he’ll be thought of as a very good citizen”, BBC News, Dec 25, 2009
Charter 08 Seminar held in Shandong Province, Dec 8, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Liu Xiaobo: Police end “Investigation Phase”

After keeping him under arrest for a year without formal charges, police have now presented a case against Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), after extending the investigations three times, reports the Taipei Times. Lawyer Shang Baojun (尚寶軍) said the report presented by investigators alleges Liu incited to subvert state power with several essays he posted online and by helping produce Charter 08, an appeal for more civil rights in China and an end to the Chinese Communist Party’s political dominance.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Petition for Liu Xiaobo, CCP refines Harmony Tools

Dozens of China’s most prominent writers and scholars, among them Li Datong (李大同), are calling for the release of a dissident Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) who was arrested after co-authoring a bold manifesto urging civil rights and political reforms, Associated Press reported on Friday. Abroad, Nadine Gordimer, Salman Rushdie, and other authors, have signed an open letter to China’s chairman Hu Jintao urging Liu’s release.

Meantime, Liu Xiaobo met with a lawyer, Shang Baojun, writes Underthejacaranda. His previous lawyer, Mo Shaoping (莫少平), has been disqualified to represent his client for signing the Charter 08, which was co-authored by Liu.

Yitong, a law firm with a high profile (and apparently some success) in defending human rights activists has reportedly been shut down.

Formally, there is no crackdown; no police are swooping in to seize files or send attorneys en masse to labor camps. Instead, Beijing is simply using its administrative procedures for licensing lawyers and law firms, declining to renew the annual registrations, which expired May 31, of those it deems troublemakers,

the Washington Post reported, also on Friday.

Underthejacaranda is keeping track of news about Liu Xiaobo.

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Related: Liu Xiaobo formally arrested, June 24

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