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Advancing a peaceful transition to democracy in China through truth, understanding, citizen power, & cooperative action

Statement on Mo Yan’s Winning Nobel Literature Prize

Initiatives For China (Citizen Power For China) congratulates Mr. Mo Yan on winning this years Nobel Literature Prize, which makes him the third Chinese from mainland China to receive a Nobel prize. The other two Nobel laureates are Gao Xingjian and Liu Xiaobo, one is currently in exile in France and the other remains in jail in China, serving an 11 year prison term for exercising his right of free speech.

We are extremely pleased that this year`s Chinese Nobel winner has not forgotten his fellow Nobel laureates. Mo Yan, a pen name that literally means “Don’t Speak”,  has finally spoken out during an interview that he hopes the jailed Nobel Peace prize winner of 2010, Liu Xiaobo, will be freed soon.

Considering Mr. Mo`s official position in China`s Writers Association (a government agency), his previous distance from pro-democracy activists, and his willingness to participate in infamous Communist propaganda, we commend and welcome his bold speech in support of Liu Xiaobo. We know that Mo Yan, a son of peasants, in his heart is a writer who deeply cares about the people suffering at the bottom of Chinese society. Anyone familiar with his work can clearly see such a sentiment reflected throughout his writings. For that, Citizen Power for China expresses our gratitude for his work and his outspokenness.

Two years ago, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded that year’s Nobel Peace prize to Liu Xiaobo for his long and nonviolent struggle for human rights in China.  Despite pleas from many world leaders, the Chinese communist regime refused to free him, so during the ceremony in Oslo, Liu was represented just by an empty chair.

But that empty chair has become a symbol, a powerful symbol of Liu’s courage, his determination and resolve, his persistence, and his sacrifice. It was a symbol that quickly spread throughout Chinese microblogging sites.  And it has become a symbol of protest by the citizens in China against the Chinese government’s brutality and repression.

Unfortunately, Liu Xiaobo today continues to be held in prison – the only Nobel laureate in the world that is languishing in jail, and, historically, the only Nobel Peace Prize recipient to be treated so harshly since the imprisonment of German pacifist Carl Ossietzky in the 1930s.
The Chinese Communist regime continues to violate Liu Xiaobo’s basic human rights. Visitations are highly restricted and very difficult to obtain for his wife and brothers. Visits are limited to family members and have to be applied for months in advance. Only one visitor is allowed at a time and even then, the visitor’s conversation with Liu is strictly limited to family matters; no information about the outside world is allowed to be passed on to him.

Since the Nobel award announcement, Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest. No visitors are allowed to see her and all her connections with the outside world, including the Internet, have been cut off.  She can only peek outside through the windows of her apartment. The regime has recently escalated her harassment by dispatching two policemen to live in her apartment. Other members of Liu Xiaobo’s extended family also continue to be harassed.

As Mo Yan prepares his presentation speech for the ceremony to receive his award in Stockholm, we sincerely hope that he will not be silent about Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, and the tens of thousands of other prisoners of conscience who have disappeared behind the bamboo curtain. We also encourage him to speak out on behalf of the Chinese people so poignantly represented in his literature. We hope he will speak out on behalf of the tens of millions of citizens who have lost their land to state power and are forcibly evicted from their homes, and those who have lost their children to forced abortions, forced sterilization, and poisoned food.

We will not stop our call to free Liu Xiaobo until he actually sits in that chair in Oslo to receive his Nobel prize. Until then we will continue to make Liu Xiaobo’s empty chair a powerful symbol of citizen power, democracy and human rights in China. We hope Mo Yan will join forces with us to fight for Liu Xiaobo’s immediate release and for a democratic China.

 

Contact:

Jianli Yang
857-472-9039
yangjianli001@gmail.com

Lianchao Han
703-851-8334
lianchao@gmail.com

Jianying Wang
202-677-0209
josephdcwang@gmail.com

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