26 June, 2017: PEN Hong Kong reports that 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, former President of Independent Chinese Pen, is battling terminal liver cancer and, according to his lawyer, has been allowed treatment at the First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang. PEN expresses its greatest concern for a man who has been imprisoned solely for his nonviolent advocacy of freedom of expression and democratic reform in China. PEN calls on the Chinese government to immediately provide Liu Xiaobo with the best possible medical care, and release him unconditionally. At a time when China wants to have a greater international role, it is only fitting that it should show humanity and compassion towards a man who has never committed any violent crime, but has dedicated his life to literature and free expression.
Liu, 61, was sentenced in 2009 to 11 years imprisonment for “inciting subversion of State power,” after a trial that did not meet either Chinese or international standards of fairness and impartiality. One of the immediate causes of his trial at the time was his role in contributing to the Charter 08, a comprehensive road map for China to become a more just and free society. Liu has been serving his sentence in Jinzhou prison in Liaoning Province, with only sporadic visiting rights from his lawyers and his relatives.
Liu’s wife, the poet Liu Xia,has been under house arrest ever since Liu Xiaobo received the Nobel prize, in an unjustifiable retaliation against those dear to him, which has no basis in Chinese nor international law. PEN calls for her immediate release and for Liu Xia to receive all the assistance she may need at this extremely painful juncture.
Liu Xiaobo is one of China’s acclaimed literary critics and writers, whose teaching as professor of Comparative Literature at Beijing Normal University have inspired a generation of students. His participation in the Tiananmen protests in 1989, next to his students, and his last-minute hunger strike to ask the Chinese authorities to negotiate an evacuation from the central Beijing square itself has undoubtedly saved dozens of young lives.
Read the motivation of the Nobel Committee in awarding him the Peace Prize in 2010 here.