Pages Navigation Menu

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

International Remembrance of Liu Xiaobo

Washington, D.C. October 9th, 2012 – Initiatives for China (aka Citizen Power for China) called for the release of jailed 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiabo and marked the second anniversary of Liu’s receipt of the prize by hosting coordinated, silent commemorations in both Washington D.C. and Budapest, Hungary.


Liu received the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize one year after he began serving an 11 year prison sentence in China’s jail system for “incitement to subvert state power” – a charge and a sentence that have been condemned outside of China with near uniformity. Despite worldwide condemnation, Liu continues to be held in prison – the only Nobel Prize recipient 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 government – in its panicked response to Liu’s Nobel award and the global support for Liu that it has engendered  – subsequently placed his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest. Her only presumed “crime” has been to be married to Liu, someone the Chinese government incarcerated on false charges as part of a campaign to prevent dissemination of opinions the Chinese government dislikes.

At the events in both Washington and Budapest, participants demanded the release of Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia and hundreds of other pro-democracy activists and dissidents held illegally in China’s jails. Event participants called for the restoration of basic human rights and freedom in China. The ceremonies concluded with supporters signing a petition requesting that ambassadors from democratic countries with embassies in in Beijing visit with Liu Xia and express their support for her release from home detention.

The U.S. ceremony took place at noon in Lafayette Square Park, just north of and across from the White House. Dozens of committed supporters, NGO activists, concerned residents, and even mere passersby joined the event and signed the petition. Led by Dr. Han Lianchao, IFC’s vice president, in a circle organized by IFC director John King, supporters held photos of Liu and his wife Liu Xia, and read the names and prison sentences given to hundreds of Chinese prisoners of conscience. The reading of each name was followed by a bell tone and, at the conclusion of the ceremony, a moment of complete silence.  International Campaign for Tibet joined and enhanced the ceremony, expressing concern for Liu’s case, and reading off the names of many additional Tibetan prisoners of conscience.

Yang Jianli of IFC speaks prior to event in Budapest.
The European ceremony took place at 6:00 p.m. in Budapest, where 150 activists and their supporters gathered for a “Dinner with Liu Xiaobo” hosted by Yang Jianli, president of IFC. Dr. Yang made brief remarks introducing the concept and plan for the event. The Budapest event had participants from China (including 3 who had flown in directly from Beijing), Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S., Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Hungary. The “dinner with Liu” protested Liu’s illegal imprisonment with an empty chair upon which rested a large framed photograph of Liu.  Each participant silently took his or her turn at the table next to Liu’s empty chair and signed the letter to the world’s ambassadors. The Budapest event was streamed on the internet to many parts of the world, including China.

Supporters of Liu Xiaobo at Budapest event continues to call for the release from prison of Liu Xiaobo and freedom for  his wife Liu Xia.

Please sign the petition letter to ambassadors in Beijing by replying back to dcoffice@initiativesforchina.org.
Petition letter drafted is listed below:

Sept. 24,2012

Dear Ambassador,
Nearly two years ago Dr. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Liu had already been in prison for a year prior to his trial in December 2009. Three years after his circus trial and sentencing, he remains in prison – the only Nobel laureate anguishing in jail today and, historically, the only peace prize  recipient to be treated so harshly since the imprisonment of German pacifist Carl Ossietzky in the 1930s.

I am writing this letter to you to urge you to express your sympathies by making an official visit to Dr. Liu and also to call on his wife Liu Xia as she is presently under house arrest. There is no greater testament to the moral example of Western democracies that you can make under the present circumstances. There is no better way to convey your country’ deep concern for the well being of these individuals to the Chinese government.

You know this history well, but it is worth repeating. Dr. Liu is serving an 11-year jail sentence in Jinzhou Prison, Liaoning Province, for drafting “Charter 08”, a set of proposals for creating greater freedom and democracy in China within the Chinese Constitutional framework. Peacefully.

Nearly 4 years since his initial incarceration and 2 years since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Chinese government refuses to release Dr. Liu despite many, many calls for his freedom from nearly every corner of the globe. The list of petitioners for his release includes 15 other Nobel Peace Prize recipients.

Liu Xia has been under house arrest at the couple’s home in Beijing since the Nobel Peace Prize award was announced.  Liu Xia’s freedom of movement remains severely restricted despite there being absolutely no reason for this treatment. Liu Xia’s not been charged with any particular, general, accidental, known or unknown crime. To add insult to injury, the Beijing regime has not allowed visits by any of Dr. Liu’s family members save a few, limited visits from his wife. Nor has that government permitted any correspondence between Dr. Liu and his friends and supporters.

The Chinese government’s persecution of Dr. Liu and his wife is a gross human rights violation under international law; moreover, it violates Article 35 of China’s own Constitution. The international community  must help by highlighting this injustice in order to rectify it.

When you and other diplomats from democratic countries make inquiries to visit Dr. Liu or his wife, and publicly express concern about their treatment, the Chinese regime will be put on notice that the jailed Nobel Prize winner has not been forgotten. This provides tremendous support to them and to democracy advocates in China and all over the world.

When history’s pen writes about your time representing your county in China, you will want its ink to clearly underline your having made the case for Dr. Liu’s release, rather than showing a stain of indifference. Don’t miss an opportunity to make this moral gesture. Place these visits on your calendar. Insist on the necessary arrangements. Visit Dr. Liu and his wife and press China for his immediate and unconditional release and for both of their freedoms.

Here is Dr. Liu’s address:
Jinzhou Prison, 86 Nanshanli, Taihe District, Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, People’s
Republic of China, tel. 011-86-416-5179191
(辽宁省锦州市太和区南山里86号, 电话:0416-5179191)

Here is the address for Liu Xia:
Apt. 501, Unit 4, Building 17, 9 Yuyuantan Nan Lu, Haidian District, Beijing, Zip Code
100038
(北京海淀区玉渊潭南路9号院17栋4单元501号, 邮编 100038).

Yours Sincerely

Print Friendly