Human Rights in China mourns in great sorrow the tragic passing of Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) today, at age 61. Liu was a proponent of a nonviolent citizens’ movement and a leading advocate for constitutional democracy in China. He was a Nobel Peace laureate who envisioned a better future for the people of China and, in the end, sacrificed his life in appealing for a peaceful political transformation to reach that future. In exhorting not only the Chinese government but also the Chinese people to do their part to create this better future, Liu was China’s conscience.
“That the Chinese authorities took away Liu’s freedom for articulating this vision, in Charter 08 and articles that he wrote, highlights the cowardice and moral void of this regime. That they allowed prison to ruin his health marks its brutality,” said Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China. “And that they denied his final wish to leave China for medical treatment—in an ultimate assault to Liu’s dignity—lays bare its true face and inhumanity.”
The Chinese authorities must make a full accounting of the medical care that was provided or not provided to Liu in prison, and explain how his liver cancer was not diagnosed until the very late stage.
After the loss of Liu Xiaobo, the international community now has an urgent task: governments must take immediate concerted actions to demand that Chinese authorities free Liu’s wife, Liu Xia (刘霞), from the prison of China. Liu Xia has been under house arrest, without any legal basis whatsoever, since October 2010, right after the Nobel Committee announced the Peace Prize for Liu Xiaobo. She has long suffered deep depression.
The Chinese authorities must restore Liu Xia’s freedom, so that she can travel abroad, and accept the Nobel Peace Prize on her late husband’s behalf.
HRIC urges the international community to honor Liu Xiaobo’s life and work by reading his writings, beginning with Charter 08, the final document in his rich spiritual and literary legacy, and the six essays that the authorities cited as evidence of his “crime” of “inciting subversion of state power,” for which he was sentenced to 11 years in prison. The six essays are:
People gathered in front of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal for a candlelight vigil to demand the release of imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is suffering from late-stage liver cancer and has been transferred out of prison to a hospital for treatment.
HRIC Press Work