China: fifth anniversary of the arrest of poet and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

English PEN calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Chinese poet and human rights defender Liu Xiaobo, who is currently serving an eleven-year prison sentence for his dissident writings and peaceful activism 

Yesterday, 8 December 2013, marked the fifth anniversary of Liu Xiaobo’s arrest. His wife, poet and artist Liu Xia, has been held under unofficial house arrest since October 2010 and is said to be suffering from severe depression. PEN believes that the ongoing, extra-judicial house arrest of Liu Xia is a form of punishment for the human rights work carried out by her husband and is extremely concerned for her physical and psychological integrity. We are also continuing to call for Liu Xiaobo’s immediate and unconditional release. Please join us. 

For further information on Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, please visit the PEN International website.

TAKE ACTION

Send a message of support

We are currently running our annual Season’s Greetings initiative encouraging members to pledge to send a card to a writer at risk. This has been shown to afford detainees better treatment in prison, as well as providing moral support. If you would be interested in writing to Liu Xiaobo and other writers at risk, please email cat@englishpen.org to request this year’s list.

Appeals to Chinese authorities

PEN members are urged to write appeals during the month of December to express solidarity with Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia, and all writers currently detained in the P.R.China.

  • Send appeals demanding the immediate and unconditional release of poet and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, and all those detained in China in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and Article 35 of its own constitution;
  • Protesting the extra-judicial detention of Liu Xia, and expressing mounting concern for her physical and psychological integrity.

We strongly recommend that you send or if possible personally deliver the appeal to the Chinese embassy in the UK asking them to forward it to the Chinese authorities and welcoming any comments. To achieve the greatest impact, appeals should be sent during the month of December.

Send appeals to:

His Excellency Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

You may find it easier to write to the Chinese ambassador in your own country asking him or her to forward your appeal. Most embassies are obliged to forward such appeals to the relevant officials in the country.

His Excellency Mr Liu Xiaoming
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
49 Portland Place
London
W1B 1JL
Fax: 0207 636 2981
Email: political@chinese-embassy.org.uk

Or you could use the form below.  A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.

[ecampaign ‘to=political@chinese-embassy.org.uk‘ subject=”In support of Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to protest the ongoing imprisonment of poet and human rights defender Liu Xiaobo.

Liu Xiaobo is currently serving an eleven-year prison sentence for his dissident writings and peaceful activism; this month marks the fifth anniversary of his arrest, on 8 December 2008.  I believe that Liu Xiaobo is being held in violation of his right to freedom of expression, and am therefore calling for his immediate and unconditional release, and the release of all those detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and Article 35 of the Chinese constitution.

In October 2010, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his continued, non-violent struggle for freedom of expression and human rights. His wife, poet and artist Liu Xia, was placed under strict house arrest in the days following the announcement of the award to prevent her from attending the prize ceremony. More than three years later she remains held incommunicado without charge at her home in Beijing and is said to be suffering from severe depression. PEN believes that the ongoing, extra-judicial house arrest of Liu Xia is a form of punishment for the human rights work carried out by her husband. I am extremely concerned for Liu Xia’s physical and psychological integrity and call on the Chinese authorities to ensure that all restrictions against her are lifted immediately.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely,

[/ecampaign]

Record your support for Liu Xiaobo

Please continue to submit recordings of your readings of Liu Xiaobo’s work via the campaign website launched by PEN and Front Line Defenders. The process for uploading a video is very simple. Please click here for instructions and writing samples by Liu Xiaobo (in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Farsi and Chinese).

Read and share their work

Two newly translated poems by Liu Xia have recently been published by our colleagues at PEN America. For more samples of writings by Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia and other resources, please visit their website.

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

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