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Liu Xiaobo

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Liu.
Liu Xiaobo
Born(1955-12-28)28 December 1955
Died13 July 2017(2017-07-13) (aged 61)
Cause of deathMultiple organ failure complicated from liver cancer
Alma materJilin University
Beijing Normal University
Occupation(s)Writer, political commentator, human rights activist
Liu Xia
(m. 1996; his death 2017)
Awards2010 Nobel Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo[1] (28 December 1955 – 13 July 2017) was a Chinese intellectual, writer, human rights activist and a political prisoner in China.[2]

He has been President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center since 2003. On 8 December 2008, police stopped Liu and held him because of his work with Charter 08. He was not actually arrested until 23 June 2009. The government accused him of encouraging people to turn against the state.[3][4] He had a trial on 23 December 2009.[5] On 25 December 2009, the court decided he must go to prison for eleven years. The court also took away his political rights for two years.[6]

He won the Nobel Peace Prize on 8 October 2010, for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."[7][8] This was during the fourth time Liu was in prison.[9]

He is the first Chinese person to win a Nobel Prize while living in China.[10] He is also the third person to win the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison or detention. The others were Germany's Carl von Ossietzky in 1935 and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991.

On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.[11] He died a few weeks later on 13 July 2017.[12]

Early life and education[change | change source]

Liu was born in 1955 in Changchun, Jilin to an intellectual family. His father took him to the Inner Mongolia from 1969 to 1973 during the Down to the Countryside Movement. He worked in a village in Jilin province when he was 19 years old. He worked at a construction company after that.[13]

In 1976, he studied at Jilin University and got a B.A. degree in literature in 1982. He earned an M.A. degree in 1984 from Beijing Normal University.[13][14][15] Liu joined the faculty at Beijing Normal University after he graduated. He also received a Ph.D. degree there in 1988.

In the 1980s, his most important essays, Critique on Choices - Dialogue with Le Zehou and Aesthetics and Human Freedom' earned him fame in the academic field. The essay criticised a prominent Chinese thinker Li Zehou's philosophy.

Between 1988 and 1989, he was a visiting scholar at several universities outside of China, including Columbia University, the University of Oslo and the University of Hawaii.

During the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests he was in the United States but decided to go back to China to join the movement. He was later named as one of the "Four Junzis of Tiananman Square" by many Hong Kong- and Taiwan-based Chinese media.

Human rights activities[change | change source]

Liu Xiaobo works to increase human rights. He has asked the Chinese government to be more open and honest about its actions. The Chinese government has brought him to police stations, arrested him, and sent him to prison many times for his peaceful political activities. The first time was for his actions in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Organizations outside China have noticed Liu's human rights work and given him awards. In 2004, Reporters Without Borders honored Liu's human rights work, awarding him the Fondation de France Prize as a defender of press freedom.[16]

Time in prison[change | change source]

In January 1991, Liu Xiaobo was convicted of "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement." However, the government did not give him any punishment as a criminal.[6] In October 1996, he was ordered to serve three years of labour for "disturbing public order"[6][17] by criticizing the Communist Party of China.[18] In 2007, police took Liu for a short time and asked him about articles he had written. The articles were posted on websites hosted outside China.

Liu Xiaobo in prison[19]
Time in prison Reason Result
June 1989 – January 1991 Charged with spreading messages to start actions that could become a revolution. Imprisoned in one of China's maximum security prisons, Qincheng Prison, and let go when he signed a "letter of repentance."
May 1995 – January 1996 Being involved in democracy and human rights movement and speaking publicly about the need to correct government mistakes in the student protest of 1989 Released after being jailed for six months.
October 1996 – October 1999 Charged with disturbing the social order Jailed in a labor education camp for three years. In 1996, he married Liu Xia.
December 2009–2020 Charged with spreading a message to overturn the country and authority Sentenced for 11 years and deprived of all political rights for two years. Currently imprisoned in Jinzhou Prison in Liaoning Province.[20]

Charter 08[change | change source]

Writing the Charter and making it well-known[change | change source]

Political protest in Hong Kong against the police keeping Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo actively participated in the writing of Charter 08. Then, along with more than three hundred Chinese citizens, he signed Charter 08. This was a manifesto, or statement of beliefs and principles. It was released on the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 2008). They wrote it in the style of the Czechoslovak Charter 77 calling for greater freedom of expression, human rights, and free elections.[21] As of May 2009, the Charter has collected over 8,600 signatures from Chinese of various walks of life.[22]

Arrest[change | change source]

Police took Liu Xiaobo away from his home late in the evening of 8 December 2008. This was two days before the official release of the Charter.[23] Police also took away Zhang Zuhua at that time. He is another scholar who signed Charter 08. According to Zhang, the two men were taken by police because they thought Liu and Zhang were trying to get more people to sign the Charter.[24] While Liu was kept alone in solitary confinement,[25] he was not allowed to meet with his lawyer or family. He was allowed to eat lunch with his wife, Liu Xia, and two policemen on New Year's Day 2009.[26] On 23 June 2009, an officer of the government in Beijing (the procuratorate) approved Liu Xiaobo's arrest on charges of "suspicion of inciting subversion of state power." This is a crime under Article 105 of the Law of the People's Republic of China.[27] The Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) said in a press release that Liu had incited the subversion of state power and the overturn of the socialist system through methods such as spreading rumors and slander, using almost the exact words of Article 105. The Beijing PSB also said that Liu had "fully confessed."[4]

Trial[change | change source]

On 1 December 2009, Beijing police transferred Liu's case to the procuratorate for investigation and processing;[5] on 10 December, the procuratorate formally indicted Liu on charges of "inciting subversion of state power" and sent his lawyers, Shang Baojun and Ding Xikui, the indictment document.[5] He was tried at Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court on 23 December 2009. His wife was not permitted to watch the trial, but his brother-in-law was there.[5][28][29] Diplomats from more than 12 countries – including the U.S., Britain, Canada, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand – were not allowed in the court. They could not watch the trial. Some diplomats stood outside the court during the whole trial.[30] Gregory May, political officer at the U.S. Embassy, and Nicholas Weeks, first secretary of the Swedish Embassy were among the diplomats who waited outside.[31]

Sentence and imprisonment[change | change source]

On 25 December, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court on charges of "inciting subversion of state power." According to Liu's family and counsel, he plans to fight this and ask for a new trial.[6] The court said that Charter 08 was part of the evidence supporting his conviction.[6]

China's political reform [...] should be gradual, peaceful, orderly and controllable and should be interactive, from above to below and from below to above. This way causes the least cost and leads to the most effective result. I know the basic principles of political change, that orderly and controllable social change is better than one which is chaotic and out of control. The order of a bad government is better than the chaos of anarchy. So I oppose systems of government that are dictatorships or monopolies. This is not 'inciting subversion of state power'. Opposition is not equivalent to subversion.

— Liu Xiaobo, Guilty of 'crime of speaking', 9 February 2010[32]

International response[change | change source]

Many individuals, states, and organizations around the world asked the Chinese government to release Liu. The Chinese government said no and told people outside China not to become involved.

On 11 December 2008, the United States Department of State called for Liu's release.[33] On 22 December 2008, an organization of scholars, writers, lawyers, and human rights workers wrote an open letter to ask the government to let Liu out of prison.[34] On 21 January 2009, 300 international writers, including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Ha Jin and Jung Chang, called for Liu's release in a statement put out through PEN.[26] In March 2009 Liu Xiaobo was awarded with the Homo Homini Award by the One World Film Festival, organized by the People in Need foundation, for promoting freedom of speech, democratic principles and human rights.[35]

In December 2009, the European Union and United States both officially asked the Chinese government to release of Liu Xiaobo without any special rules or conditions.[36][37]

Before the court decision, China said that other nations should "respect China's judicial sovereignty and to not do things that will interfere in China's internal affairs."[38]

Responding to the result in court, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay expressed concern political rights in China becoming worse.[39] German Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly criticized the verdict, stating "despite the great progress in other areas in the expression of views, I regret that the Chinese government still massively restricts press freedom."[40] Canada and Switzerland also condemned the verdict.[41][42] Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou called on Beijing to "tolerate dissent".[43] On 6 January 2010, former Czech president Václav Havel joined with other communist-era dissidents at the Chinese embassy in Prague to present a petition calling for Liu's release.[44] On 22 January 2010, European Association for Chinese Studies sent an open letter to Hu Jintao on behalf of over 800 scholars from 36 countries calling for Liu's release.[45]

Nobel Peace Prize[change | change source]

Events leading up to the prize[change | change source]

On 18 January 2010, Liu was named by many people as a nominee (possible winner) of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. These included Václav Havel, the 14th Dalai Lama, André Glucksmann, Vartan Gregorian, and Desmond Tutu.[46] China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu said that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu would be "totally wrong".[47] Geir Lundestad, a secretary of the Nobel Committee, stated the award would not be influenced by Beijing's opposition.[47] On 25 September 2010, The New York Times reported that a petition in support of the Nobel nomination was being circulated in China.[48]

In September 2010 Václav Havel, Dana Němcová, and Václav Malý published an open letter in The International Herald Tribune calling for the award to be given to Liu. All three had been leaders of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution. Soon after, people began signing a petition.[48][49]

Freedom Now is a non-governmental organization and works as a lawyer for Liu Xiaobo outside China. On 6 October 2010, they publicly released a letter from 30 U.S. Members of Congress to President Barack Obama (the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner). This letter strongly asked President Obama to talk directly to Chinese President Hu Jintao at the G-20 Summit in November 2010. They wanted Obama to talk about Liu Xiaobo and another political prisoner named Gao Zhisheng .[50]

Prize announcement[change | change source]

On 8 October 2010 the Nobel Committee awarded Liu the Prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".[51] The Norwegian Nobel Committee president Thorbjørn Jagland said the choice of Liu as the recipient of the prize had become clear early on in the process.[52] The Chinese foreign ministry had already warned the Nobel committee not to give Liu the prize. They said that it would be against Nobel principles.[52]

All news about the announcement of the award was immediately censored in China. Foreign news broadcasters including CNN and the BBC were immediately blocked after mentioning the award in China.[53] Web searches for Liu Xiabo were immediately deleted and no information can be searched about him in China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement that said, "The Nobel Peace Prize is meant to award individuals who promote international harmony and friendship, peace and disarmament. Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law. Awarding the peace to Liu runs completely counter to the principle of the award and is also a desecration of the Peace Prize."[54] The state-run Xinhua News Agency later carried a report saying that awarding Liu Xiaobo the prize “defiles” (亵渎) Alfred Nobel's purpose of creating this prize and "may harm China-Norway relations". The spokesperson added that Liu had broken Chinese law and his "actions run contrary to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize."[55][56][57]

Responses from world leaders[change | change source]

Many world leaders congratulated Liu for the award. These included Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission,[58] The British Foreign Secretary William Hague,[58] US President Barack Obama,[59] and The Dalai Lama.[60]

Official Chinese government response[change | change source]

The Chinese Foreign Ministry called the Norwegian ambassador to the People's Republic of China to the ministry on 8 October 2010. The Chinese gave the ambassador an official complaint against awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo.[61] The Norwegian foreign minister replied that the Chinese government complaint was not needed because the group of people who decide the Nobel Prize is independent from the Norwegian government. However, the Norwegian Nobel Committee that gives the peace prize is appointed by the Norwegian parliament.

Major publications[change | change source]

  • Critique on Choice - Dialogue with Le Zehou. 1987.[62]
  • Aesthetics and Human Freedom. 1988.[63] Beijing Normal University Publishing.
  • Myths on Metaphysics. 1989.[64] Shanghai's People publishing.
  • Naked to meet God. 1989.[65] Times Literature and Art Publisher.
  • Monologue:Survivors of Doomsday. 1993.[66] Taiwan Times Publishing.
  • Contemporary Politics and Intellectuals of China. 1990.[67] Taiwan Tangshan Publishing.
  • Selected Poems of Liu Xiabo and Liu Xia. 2000.[68] Hong Kong Xiafeier International Publishing Ltd.
  • Under pen name Lao Xia and co-authored with Wang Shuo (2000). A Belle Gave me Knockout Drug (Original title:《美人赠我蒙汗药》, by 长江文艺出版社). Changjiang Literature and Arts Publishing.
  • To the Nation that Lies to His Conscience. 2002.[69] Jieyou Publishing.
  • The Future of Free China in our life. 2005.[70] Labor Reform Foundation.
  • A Single Blade and Toxic Sword: Critique on Contempory Chinese Nationalism. 2006.[71] Boda Publishing.
  • Sinking of Big Country: Memorandum to China. Oct 2009.[72] Yunchen Culture publisher.

Awards[change | change source]

Personal life[change | change source]

He is married to Liu Xia, who lives in the couple's apartment in Beijing.

Health and death[change | change source]

In May 2017, Liu was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.[77] On 10 July 2017, Liu was listed in critical condition in hospital in Shenyang.[78]

Liu died at a hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning, China on 13 July 2017 of multiple organ failure as a set of complications of the disease at the age of 61.[79]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Liu Xiaobo (simplified Chinese: 刘晓波; traditional Chinese: 劉曉波)
  2. NobelPrize.org, "Liu Xiaobo"; retrieved 2012-9-17.
  3. Benjamin Kang Lim, China's top dissident arrested for subversion, Reuters, 24 June 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "刘晓波因涉嫌煽动颠覆国家政权罪被依法逮捕 Archived 2009-06-30 at the Wayback Machine" (Liu Xiaobo Formally Arrested on 'Suspicion of Inciting Subversion of State Power' Charges), China Review News, 24 June 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Canghai [沧海], "刘晓波案闪电移送法院 律师两次前往未能会见[permanent dead link]" [Liu Xiaobo's Case Quickly Escalated to the Court; Lawyers Twice Try to Meet with Liu to No Avail], Canyu [参与], 11 December 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court, Criminal Verdict no. (2009) yi zhong xing chu zi 3901, unofficial English translation in Human Rights in China, "International Community Speaks Out on Liu Xiaobo Verdict Archived 2012-12-04 at Archive.today," 30 December 2009.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "The Nobel Peace Prize 2010 - Prize Announcement", nobelprize.org, 8 October 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize (劉曉波獲諾貝爾和平獎)", RTHK, 8 October 2010, archived from the original on 11 October 2010, retrieved 9 October 2010
  9. McKinnon, Mark. "Liu Xiaobo could win the Nobel Peace Prize, and he’d be the last to know" Archived 2016-08-12 at the Wayback Machine. The Globe and Mail. 7 October 2010. 'Ms. Liu said her husband had been told by his lawyer during a recent visit that he had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but he would be shocked if he won, she said. “I think he would definitely find it hard to believe. He never thought of being nominated, he never mentioned any awards. For so many years, he has been calling for people to back the Tiananmen Mothers (a support group formed by parents of students killed in the 1989 demonstrations)..”'
  10. Lovell, Julia (9 October 2010). "Beijing values the Nobels. That's why this hurts". The Independent. UK: Independent Print Limited. Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  11. "Chinese Nobel winner has terminal cancer". BBC News. 26 June 2017.
  12. "Liu Xiaobo: Prominent China dissident dies". BBC. 13 July 2017.
  13. 13.0 13.1 明报记者陈阳、方德豪 (22 October 2008). "刘晓波﹕六四损邓历史地位". 明报. Archived from the original on 15 October 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
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  16. Reporters Without Borders, "Fondation de France Prize: Liu Xiaobo Receives Prize for Defence of Press Freedom," 21 December 2004.
  17. Liu Xiaobo, "劉曉波:勞教 早該被廢除的惡法" (Reeducation-through-labor: An evil law which should be quickly repealed), Observe China, 6 December 2007.
  18. Wang Ming, "A Citizen's Declaration on Freedom of Speech Archived 2012-09-04 at Archive.today," China Rights Forum (spring 1997).
  19. "明報新聞網". news.mingpao.com.
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  21. Link, Perry. "Charter 08 Translated from Chinese by Perry Link The following text of Charter 08, signed by hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and translated and introduced by Perry Link, Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of California, Riverside". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  22. "零八宪章签署者已过8600名,第十四批签名人正式名单" (Signatures to Charter 08 exceeds 8600, 14th list of signers attached), Boxun, 4 May 2009.
  23. "著名学者张祖桦、刘晓波'失踪,'" Boxun, 9 December 2008.
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  27. 中华人民共和国刑法 Archived 2012-07-15 at Archive.today (Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China)
  28. Human Rights Watch, "China: Liu Xiaobo's Trial a Travesty of Justice," 21 December 2009.
  29. Michael Anti, "Liu Xiaobo's brother-in-law says the trial ends without result. Waiting for lawyer coming out," 23 December 2009.
  30. Chinese angered by 'interference' in dissident trial BBC.
  31. Cara Anna, "Diplomats Kept Away from China Dissident's Trial Archived 2009-12-28 at the Wayback Machine," The Associated Press, 23 December 2009.
  32. Liu Xiaobo (9 February 2010) Guilty of 'crime of speaking', South China Morning Post.
  33. Sean McCormack, Sean McCormack (11 December 2008). "Harassment of Chinese Signatories to Charter 08 Press Statement Sean McCormack (spokesman)". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  34. "Letter from the Consortium for the Release of Liu Xiaobo to China's President Hu Jintao," 22 December 2008.
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  38. "Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on 24 December 2009". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China. 25 December 2009.
  39. "Imprisonment of Chinese dissident deeply concerns UN human rights chief". United Nations News Service. 25 December 2009.
  40. Illmer, Andreas, ed. (25 December 2009), "Rights groups, West blast China over sentence for leading dissident", Deutsche Welle
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  44. Anderlini, Jamil (15 January 2010). "The Chinese dissident's 'unknown visitors'". Financial Times.
  45. "OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA" (PDF). European Association for Chinese Studies. 22 January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
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  50. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2010-10-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  59. White House website, Oct 8 2010, statement
  60. "Dalai Lama congratulated fellow Nobel laureate". Times of India.
  61. 路透社. "中國召喚挪威大使抗議諾獎" (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Mingpao.com. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  62. Original title:《选择的批判——与李泽厚对话》, published by 上海人民出版社
  63. Original title: 《审美与人的自由》, published by 北京師范大學出版社
  64. Original title:《形而上学的迷雾》, by 上海人民出版社
  65. Original title: 《赤身裸体,走向上帝》, 时代文艺出版社
  66. Original title:《末日幸存者的独白》, published by 台湾時報出版
  67. Original title:《中国当代政治与中国知识份子》, published by 台北唐山出版社
  68. 《刘晓波刘霞诗选》, published by 香港夏菲尔国际出版公司
  69. Original title: 《向良心说谎的民族》, published by 捷幼出版社
  70. Original title:《未来的自由中国在民间》, published by 劳改基金会
  71. Original title:《单刃毒剑——中国当代民族主义批判》, published by 博大出版社
  72. Original title:《大國沉淪——寫給中國的備忘錄》, published by 允晨文化
  73. One World Homo Homini award goes to Chinese dissident,2009年3月12日.
  74. "Liu Xiaobo". Dw-world.de. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
  75. Liu Xiaobo De-World, 7 October 2010.
  76. "Everything you need to know about human rights". www.amnesty.org.
  77. "China releases terminally ill Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo". The Hindu. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  78. "Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo in 'critical condition'". www.aljazeera.com.
  79. Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "China's Nobel Peace Prize winning dissident Liu Xiaobo dies - DW - 13.07.2017". DW.COM.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Liu Xiaobo at Wikimedia Commons