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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

World

Authors and activists demand release of dissident Liu Xiaobo
Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Beijing, December 06, 2012
First Published: 17:16 IST(6/12/2012)
Last Updated: 01:10 IST(7/12/2012)

After a letter from Nobel Laureates demanding his release, jailed Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo has got some unexpected and bold support from writers and activists from within his country.

Well know Chinese authors, lawyers and activists have written a letter to Communist Party of China (CPC) general secretary and soon-to-be President, Xi Jinping, asking him to release Liu.

The successive letters of support for Liu comes as this year’s Nobel winner for Literature from China, Mo Yan, is in Sweden to collect his trophy.

Liu was sentenced in 2009 for helping to draft a manifesto - Charter '08 - calling for political change. He is serving 11 years in jail for inciting the subversion of state power.

His wife, Liu Xia, remains under house arrest.

The letter of support from within the Mainland called the jailed writer’s jail term as a “brazen violation of citizens’ basic rights.

Among those who signed the letter were legal scholar He Weifang, human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and AIDS activist Hu Jia.

The letter was timed to coincide with “four years since the publication of Charter 08 and the subsequent arrest and sentencing of Liu Xiaobo, and the two years since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

“We believe that the existence of political prisoners does not help China to build its image of a responsible world power,” it said.

"Ending political imprisonment is an important benchmark for China to move toward a civilised political system."

According to the BBC, initially 40 had signed the letter. By Thursday, nearly 300 had given their support to it.

The letter was organised by the Independent China Pen Centre, a grouping of Chinese writers previously led by Liu.

On Wednesday, Beijing had dismissed the plea from the Nobel Laureates as an attempt at interfering in China’s internal affairs.

“China is firmly opposed to the outside world interfering into China's judicial sovereignty and internal affairs in any form,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hong
Lei told a press briefing..

"China is a country under the rule of law. Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to imprisonment by China's judicial authorities for violating the law."

It remains to be seen whether the reaction is any different to a plea from supporters of Liu in the country.


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