Liu Xiaobo is a prominent Chinese intellectual, democracy activist, and the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. As a fellow Nobel laureate, I am asking you to stand with me and more than 134 other Nobel Laureates in demanding Chinese leader Xi Jinping release Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia, who is under house arrest.
Dr. Liu, a long-time rights activist, received an 11-year prison sentence in 2009 after he helped write Charter ’08, a political manifesto, which promoted peaceful democratic reform and called for greater respect for fundamental human rights in China and an end to one party rule. After arresting Dr. Liu, police held him without charge or access to an attorney for six months. At trial, the government prevented Dr. Liu’s wife, foreign diplomats, and the press from attending.
On October 8, 2010, the Norwegian Nobel Committee took the bold step of awarding Dr. Liu its Peace Prize in recognition of his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental rights in China.”
Instead of celebrating a great award bestowed on one of its citizens, Chinese police placed Dr. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest without any charges or legal due process, and they prevented diplomats and journalists from meeting with her.
Two years later, both Dr. Liu and Liu Xia remain in detention. Despite the United Nations saying Dr. Liu’s imprisonment and Liu Xia’s house arrest violate international law, the government continues to close them off from the outside world.
This flagrant violation of the basic right to due process and free expression must be publicly and forcefully confronted by the international community. That is why I and 134 of my fellow Nobel Laureates joined together to call for their immediate and unconditional release.
Join us by signing this petition to incoming Chinese leader Xi Jinping. We are confident that your participation will send a clear message to the Chinese government that the continued detention of the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and his wife—in clear violation of their rights to freedom of expression and due process of law—will not be tolerated by the international community. Join us in letting China’s new leadership know that fundamental human rights must be respected everywhere.
It’s time to release Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia.
Desmond M. Tutu
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town