Monday, 10 July 2017

Letter to Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs regarding Liu Xiaobo

A Sydney based organisation wrote to Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop today, pleading her to intercede for its members to secure the release of ailing Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo so that he can travel abroad for much needed medical treatment. This letter is written in response to a joint statement of two foreign medical experts who have visited Liu Xiaobo. The two doctors from Germany and the United States confirm Liu can be moved abroad safely but warn that it needs to happen very soon.
The Sydney Network for Democracy in China (SN4DC) is an Australian non-government organisation that advocates human rights and democracy in China.  I am authorised by SN4DC to repost this letter on my blog.

Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Foreign Affairs
cc – members of House of Representatives and Senate

Dear Hon Bishop,
Re: Dr. Liu Xiaobo
We wish to advise that our community is shocked to hear about the latest news of China’s delay in granting permission for the ailing Dr Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, to go abroad for medical treatment. We ask our government to make an urgent response to this human rights violation as a member of the international community and as a country that values the freedom and dignity of the individual, and commitment to the rule of law.
It is widely known that Dr Liu has been incarcerated as a political prisoner in the Liaoning province of PRC. His crime was related to his key role in formulating the famous “Charter 08”, a manifesto published in China in 2008 at the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHRs). Charter 08 advocates for political reforms in China consistent with terms cherished in the UDHRs.
As you are well aware, Dr Liu is a Chinese scholar and human rights activist who insists on a ‘non-violent’ approach to social reforms. His famous Nobel lecture in absentia, delivered by Liv Ullmann on 10 December 2010 says it all: “I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement”. He initially wrote this article with an intention to be read at his trial in December 2009, but it was never allowed to be heard.
While many governments have appealed to China for Dr Liu’s release with no avail, it is ironic that he has finally been granted “medical parole” after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer while in jail. While he is facing the final stage of his life, he is still denied the freedom to choose where and how he could receive his medical care.
The PRC government claims it is unsafe for him to travel overseas, a lie that had been refuted by the US and German specialists who treated Dr Liu. The way that PRC treats him has provoked grave anger from everywhere around the world except, perhaps, from within China where the news about Dr Liu has been censored.
We ask that our government to take a leading role to urge the Chinese government to take note of this matter as it violates human rights and justice. Dr Liu should not have spent a day in jail and many countries would have agreed on this. The fact that his cancer was not diagnosed until it reached terminal phase while in jail has highlighted the injustice and brutality. Countries that choose not to respond now to Dr Liu’s case would have no excuse as it would be like supporting the oppressor to prolong human right abuses in China.
We therefore request our government to make a clear statement to:
  • Condemn the Chinese government’s inhuman and brutal treatment of Dr Liu to the extent that Dr Liu is still not allowed to move anywhere at his own choice to get medical treatment and to spend for the rest of his life.
  • Join the USA and Germany by offering refugee protection to Dr Liu and his spouse, Liu Xia, so they could choose to come to Australia for his treatment and future life, if they choose to do so. Dr Liu visited Australia in 1993 as a visiting scholar after his jail term for his role in the 1989 Beijing Pro-Democracy Movement. He loves Australia for our democratic system and multicultural environment.
  • Condemn China’s human right records in which Dr Liu’s case represents a peak highlight.

Sydney Network for Democracy in China (SN4DC)
Chun Wing Fan – Public Officer
Chen Yonglin, Coordinator
Zhang Xiaogang, Coordinator

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Chinese intellectuals calling for release of critically ill Nobel Laureate

The China blogosphere on Twitter was buzzing yesterday with news about the cancer diagnosis of Liu Xiaobo. Liu is serving a lengthy jail term for his role in penning Charter 08, a document calling for political reforms to end single party rule in China. Liu was subsequently awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in absentia, making him the third person to have received such honour while in prison or detention, and the only Nobel Laureate who is still subjected to incarceration.

This artwork is used with special permission by the artist @Badiucao
No unauthorised reposting of this image is permitted

Today, an open letter in the form of a petition has been circulated on Twitter and other social media for signatures. It calls for Beijing to immediately release Liu Xiaobo so that he can reunite with his family and seek better medical treatments. So far, almost five hundred Chinese intellectuals, dissidents and rights activists have signed the document, and the number is growing. I have translated the letter into English.

Urgent Appeal to Unconditional Release of Liu Xiaobo

We, the undersigned, are alarmed to learn that Mr Liu Xiaobo, the renowned literary critic, human rights activist and the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who is currently imprisoned in the Jinzhou Jail of Liaoning Province, has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. He was subsequently granted permission to access medical treatment outside of prison and is currently hospitalized in Liaoning at the First Affiliated Hospital of the China Medical University. According to reliable sources close to his family, Mr Liu is now gravely ill and the cancer has metastasized. 

Mr Liu is the first Chinese national to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize to honour his three decades of struggle for basic human rights on behalf of his fellow countrymen. We admire Mr Liu for his endurance and sacrifice. We are deeply saddened and angry about the way in which he has fallen severely ill in prison. We therefore demand the Chinese Government to:
  1. ensure unconditional release of Mr Liu from imprisonment so that he and his wife Liu Xia can resume normal contacts with the outside world;
  2. guarantee Mr Liu has freedom to choose where and how he seeks medical treatment;
  3. guarantee Mr Liu has rights to be visited by and to communicate with his relatives and friends, and to receive humanitarian assistance from the outside world;
  4. disclose in full Mr Liu’s medical record during imprisonment and investigate thoroughly the cause of deterioration of his health so that those who are responsible for a delay in offering him timely medical treatment will be held accountable.
Please send your signature to:
This document is first posted on: 27 June 2017

UPDATE: Since this blogpost is published, an online petition has been set up to collect signatures internationally.