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Freedom for Liu Xiaobo

As someone who has only recently become involved in a small way in Authors for Peace, I was shocked to learn of the imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2010. I hope that you, too, may like to lend your support by adding your name to an appeal that is being organised by Priya Basil.
Extracts follow, but to read the full appeal/sign the petition go to or fill in the form on the Authors for Peace Website, which requires no email
“After co-authoring ‘Charter 08’, a manifesto calling for greater freedoms and democracy in China, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years in prison on a spurious charge of ‘inciting subversion of state power’. His continued imprisonment is a basic breach of human rights, and also a violation of China’s own constitution where Article 35 states that ‘Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration’.”
‘The preamble to ‘Charter 08’ states that “aware that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values shared by all humankind, and that democracy, republicanism, and constitutional government make up the basic institutional framework of modern politics. A “modernization” bereft of these universal values and this basic political framework is a disastrous process that deprives people of their rights, rots away their humanity, and destroys their dignity.”‘  

Liu Xiaobo’s experience is not dissimilar to that of Ai WeiWei, recently featured on BBC’s wonderful art series, Imagine (Without Fear or Favour). Probably the Chinese artist who is best known in the West, Ai WeiWei was responsible for the Bird’s Nest Stadium and his latest work, Sunflower Seeds, is currently on display at Tate Modern. No stranger to the power of words or of being the target of an intense political campaign, his own father was a distinguished revolutionary poet who, once in favour, was stripped of his titles, sent into exile, shunned. Ai WeiWei’s childhood was defined by his father’s persecution. Known for being outspoken, even without the use of words, Ai Weiwei frequently finds himself on the wrong side of the authorities. He sees fighting for rights and clearly expressing who he is as the core values of being an artist. An example of this expression, having found that a number of CCTV cameras had been installed outside his home by undercover police, he manufactured white marble sculptures of similar cameras which he intends to mount on his wall. He says of the camera, ‘I think this is really very important object of our time.’ 




“1936 was the last time neither the winner, German journalist and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, nor any of his family members, could go to Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize. They were all barred from leaving Nazi Germany. Neither has there been any let-up in the harassment of Liu’s family and supporters, and all others attempting free speech activities in China. Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, is under house arrest. Several Chinese human rights activists have been prevented from leaving the country in case they go to Oslo, and Liu’s brothers are pessimistic about their chances of being able to travel in his place.”