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Nobel Prize winners call for release of Liu Xiaobo PDF Print E-mail
[10 December 2012] Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama, have called on China to release Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Liu Xiaobo, a writer, human rights defender and advocate for genuine Tibetan autonomy, is the only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Liu XiaoboOver 130 Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama, Toni Morrison and Desmond Tutu signed a letter urging Xi Jinping, the new head of the Chinese Communist Party, to release Liu Xiaobo (pictured right). The Chinese government imprisoned  Liu Xiaobo for 11 years in 2009 on charges of "inciting subversion" after he co-authored "Chater 08", a manifesto calling for democracy in China. In 2010, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his determination to bring fundamental human rights to China.

The Chinese government has dismissed the appeal from the Nobel laureates, saying that, "Liu Xiaobo was lawfully sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment by the judicial organ because he committed an offence against Chinese law." In the statement, delivered by the Foreign Ministry, the government added that it "opposes outsiders handling matters in any way that would interfere in its judicial sovereignty and internal matters".

A second letter was sent to Xi Jinping from over 300 Chinese writers, lawyers and activists echoing the sentiments of the Nobel laureates. They called Liu's imprisonment "a brazen violation of citizens' basic rights". They also stated that ending political imprisonment is an important benchmark for China to move toward a civilised political system.

Further reading: BBC I BBC interview with Liu Xia (Liu Xiaobo's wife)
Background on Liu Xiaobo

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