Saturday, October 9, 2010

Liu Xiaobo, he is hero

Liu Xiaobo (born 28 December 1955) is a Chinese intellectual, writer, and human rights activist and a political prisoner in China. He has served as President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center since 2003. On 8 December 2008, Liu was detained in response to his participation with Charter 08. He was formally arrested on 23 June 2009, on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power." He was tried on the same charges on 23 December 2009, and sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights on 25 December 2009.

During his 4th prison term from 2009 to 2020, he won the Nobel Peace Prize on 8 October 2010, for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

On 7 October 2010, Norwegian TV networks reported that Liu Xiaobo was a candidate for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. On 8 October 2010 the Nobel Committee awarded him the Prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China". 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. The Chinese foreign ministry had previously warned the Nobel committee not to give Liu the prize, as they said that it would be against Nobel principles.

All news about the announcement of the award was immediately censored in China. Foreign news broadcasters including CNN and the BBC were immediately blacked out after mentioning the award in China. 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." 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 spokeperson added that Liu had broken Chinese law and his "actions run contrary to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize."

In response to the award announcement, there were messages of congratulations from the world’s leaders. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, stated that, "The decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is a strong message of support to all those around the world who, sometimes with great personal sacrifice, are struggling for freedom and human rights." The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the award “shines a spotlight on the situation of human rights defenders worldwide,” and the Foreign Secretary William Hague continued asking for Liu’s release from jail. US President Barack Obama said in a statement, “By granting the prize to Mr. Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. But this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected. We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.” The Dalai Lama praised the decision, and called on the Chinese government to release the jailed Liu and launch political, legal and constitutional reforms.

The Norwegian ambassador to the People's Republic of China was summoned by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on 8 October 2010 and was presented with an official complaint against the granting of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Seeing as the Chinese government had threatened Norwegian officials with "negative reactions" if the prize were to be given Liu, Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre, in advance of an official Chinese response to the Nobel Prize committee's decision, commented that a Chinese complaint to the Norwegian government is unnecessary, as the Nobel Prize nomination committee is independent from the Norwegian government (it is appointed by the Parliament of Norway.), adding that said independence may be difficult for the Chinese government to understand.

Liu was born in Changchun, Jilin, in 1955 to an intellectual family. From 1969 to 1973, he was taken by his father to the Horqin Right Front Banner of Inner Mongolia during the Down to the Countryside Movement. At the age of 19, it was once again arranged for him to work in a village in Jilin province and later at a construction company.

In 1976, he studied at Jilin University and obtained a B.A. degree in literature in 1982 and an M.A. degree in 1984 from Beijing Normal University.

After graduation, Liu joined the faculty at Beijing Normal University, where he also received a Ph.D. degree 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

Liu Xiaobo is a human rights activist who has called on the Chinese government to be accountable for its actions. He has been detained, arrested and sentenced repeatedly for his peaceful political activities, beginning with his participation in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and on four other occasions since.

In January 1991, Liu Xiaobo was convicted on charges of "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement," but he was exempt from criminal punishment. In October 1996, he was ordered to serve three years of re-education through labor on charges of "disturbing public order" for criticizing the Communist Party of China. In 2007, Liu was briefly detained and questioned about articles he wrote which were published online on websites hosted outside Mainland China.

Liu's human rights work has received international recognition. In 2004, Reporters Without Borders honored Liu's human rights work, awarding him the Fondation de France Prize as a defender of press freedom. (

No comments:

Post a Comment