Dai Qing and the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Liu Xiaobo, Chinese democracy advocate sentenced to 11 years

(December 30, 2009) On December 25, a Chinese court sentenced that country’s most prominent democracy advocate, Liu Xiaobo, to 11 years in prison. His trial — just two days earlier, and just over two hours long — has been condemned by all except the Chinese Communist Party. Mr. Liu’s crime was campaigning for political freedoms and co-authoring the “Charter 08” petition that called for rule of law, free speech and, ironically, an end to the law under which he was found guilty – “inciting subversion of state power.” Governments from around the world have criticized the Chinese authorities for jailing the 54-year old literary scholar. Chinese media were not permitted to report the verdict, but Chinese Netizens got the news, nonetheless, over the Internet. Outside China, his star power continues to grow with some calling him “the new Vaclav Havel.” Or China’s Nelson Mandela. Or Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.

Following is some of the excellent news coverage of Liu Xiaobo’s ill treatment.

From Reuters: “China’s most prominent dissident, Liu Xiaobo, was jailed on Friday for 11 years for campaigning for political freedoms, with the stiff sentence on a subversion charge swiftly condemned by rights groups and Washington.” Read the full story.

And another story from Reuters: “A senior Chinese police official has vowed “pre-emptive attacks” against threats to Communist Party control, in a speech published days after the nation’s most prominent dissident was jailed for criticizing the Party.” Read the full story.

From UPI: “China’s Thin Veneer Is Cracked: Human-rights groups and governments have condemned the 11-year sentence of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo despite Beijing claiming criticisms are interference in its internal affairs.” Read the full story.

From Spiegel Online: “Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo drew a harsh sentence for his crusade for political freedom. His punishment — 11 years in prison for “subversion” — is likely to tarnish China’s international image. The German government has expressed dismayed and anger over the verdict and newspaper commentators feel the same way.” Read the full story.

From the Washington Post: “China’s leading dissident, Liu Xiaobo, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday after a court found the 53-year-old literary scholar guilty of “inciting subversion to state power” through his writings and role in Charter 08, a petition advocating human rights, free speech and an end to one-party rule. The sentencing sent a signal that the Chinese Communist Party will continue to stifle domestic political critics, especially those who seek to organize their fellow Chinese.” Read the full story.

From Times Online: “China meted out its harshest punishment for subversion in two decades yesterday, sentencing the country’s leading dissident to 11 years in jail in a verdict that provoked international condemnation.” Read the full story.

And another, from Times Online: “The Prophet Unarmed: The imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo recalls a bleak tradition of repression. Communist China was born amid trumped-up charges against supposed enemies of the State. The eleven-year prison sentence imposed yesterday on Liu Xiaobo, a literary scholar and the country’s most prominent dissident, demonstrates a bleak continuity in the regime’s practices. It was a peculiarly cynical touch that the judgment was issued on Christmas Day.” Read the full story.

From the Wall Street Journal: “A Chinese court sentenced Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident, to 11 years in prison for criticizing the government, an unusually long sentence that rights activists say suggests other activists will also face harsh punishment. The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court announced Friday its ruling that Mr. Liu was guilty of ‘inciting subversion of state power’.” Read the full story.

From the Bangkok Post: “The ”state subversion” trial of the dissident Liu Xiaobo failed all possible tests of fairness. Outsiders were not permitted and the witnesses did not testify in public. Mr Liu, a 53-year-old former literature professor, was brought into the court, heard his accusation read, and then was taken away for 11 years in prison, plus two more years of enforced censorship. The procedure was no trial to determine guilt or innocence. Instead, it was a harsh warning to others who might dare to write or to voice complaints against central authorities.” Read the full story.

From the LA Times: “After being detained for more than a year, Chinese literary critic and academic Liu Xiaobo was sentenced, on Christmas Day, to 11 years in prison. The writer’s wife and foreign diplomats were banned from the Dec. 23 trial, which took less than three hours; defense attorneys are not permitted to discuss what transpired.” Read the full story. 

From the Christian Science Monitor: “The Christmas Day sentencing of literary critic Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison has drawn unusually strong criticism from Western governments, but some experts say that may only result in China taking a harder line.”  Read the full story.

From the Globe and Mail: “Last week’s trial and imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo, a scholar and human-rights activist, was eerily reminiscent of another trial 72 years ago: that of Shen Junru, a legal scholar who went on to become the first president of the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China.” Read the full story.

From the Western Standard: “Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, took time off on Christmas day to officially deplore the 11-year prison sentence given to Chinese intellectual and dissident Liu Xiaobo by the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court.” Read the full story.

From the New York Times: “President Obama, Push Back on China: Last week, a moderate reformist in China, Liu Xiaobo, was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Chinese government for the mere act of organizing and signing a petition, Charter 08, calling for political reform and the basic human rights much of the world already enjoys.” Read the full story.

From the Voice of America: “China Rejects International Criticism of Dissident Trial: China says expressions of international concern on behalf of dissident Liu Xiaobo are violations of the country’s internal affairs. The comments come one day after Liu was put on trial for charges of subversion.” Read the full story.

From the Dalai Lama: “Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Monday urged the Chinese government to release writer Liu Xiaobo and other political prisoners.” Read the full story.

Patricia Adams, Probe International, December 30, 2009

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