(November 7, 2010) AFP report on Dai Qing’s pledge to attend the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony for Liu Xiaobo.
BEIJING — A leading Chinese dissident writer will attend the Nobel ceremony in Norway, an activist group said Sunday, despite a crackdown on supporters of this year’s jailed peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Dai Qing, a prominent journalist and environmental campaigner, said she would attend if the Chinese government did not release Liu or allow others to go on his behalf, environmental advocacy group Probe International said.
Dai is a fellow of the Toronto-based group and is currently in Canada on a speaking tour, the group said in an email to AFP.
Liu, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison last December on subversion charges after co-authoring a manifesto calling for political reform in China, was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 8 — enraging China’s rulers.
His wife Liu Xia was immediately placed under house arrest. Unable to freely leave her home, she issued an open letter last month inviting over 100 of her husband’s friends to go to receive the award on his behalf in Oslo on December 10.
Since the announcement of the prize, scores of dissidents, lawyers and professors on that list have either been put under house arrest, or have come under strict surveillance.
“If… no one on Liu Xia?s list is permitted to go abroad through the proper procedures, it happens that I am in Canada now for an academic conference,” Dai, who is also on the list, wrote on Probe International’s website.
“To comfort Xiaobo in prison and Liu Xia under house arrest… then I shall tell the world that it is not true that no Chinese citizen who fights against authoritarianism will be able to attend the grand ceremony in Oslo.”
According to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Liu’s brothers — who live in China — are also willing to travel to Norway to accept the prize despite concerns police will step up surveillance of their movements.
Dai has long been an outspoken critic of the government, and was herself jailed after the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen pro-democracy protests.
AFP, November 07, 2010