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.

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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: freeliuxiaobo2017@gmail.com
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.

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