Liu Xiaobo sentenced to 11 years imprisonment

It was reported [12/2] that Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years presumably for subversion.

The United States, Britain, France, Germany and Canada have denounced the verdict imposed on account of his role in compiling Charter 08. Liu’s supporters are reported not to have been surprised by the sentence; nor would Liu have been.

Perry Link, Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University, worked on the translation of Charter 08.

He described the document and Liu’s part in it. It “is addressed to fellow citizens in China from a group that you’d call intellectuals in general although they made an effort to reach out to workers and even leaders of farmers movements so that they wouldn’t be viewed as a purely dissident document.”

“It was not a Petition” — a matter of some misunderstanding outside China. “It was a statement of ideals, a blueprint for what China might ideally look like if it had democracy and constitutionalism and the rule of law and all the other things that the charter listed. And it was addressed to fellow citizens. It did not ask the Chinese Communist Party to do anything.”

“Liu Xiaobo was not one of the main drafters of Charter 08. It is generally believed tht the chief drafter was his friend, Zhang Zuhua, whose home was raided after the charter came out, but was not arrested. Others contributed.”It was a real collective effort with more than a 100 people contributing.

“Liu played a very significant role near the end in helping to find people to sign it. ”

The question then is why was Liu specifically targeted. It appears that “the reason …. is that he has been over the last 20 years… since the Tianmen demonstrations and the Beijing massacre,one of the most obdurate dissidents … He was in the United States when the Tiananmen movement happened and voluntarily came back to China and participated in the movement and was arrested shortly thereafter. And then, later in the 90’s for other things that he wrote about democracy and human rights , and remembering the Tiananmen massacre, was arrested again… he is the best known dissident … I don’t think that Liu Xiaobo had any hope at all that the court would act differently”

Why then did he do it? “Well, one of his good friends Zhang Tse-tung has written an essay addressing that question and says that what Liu Xiaobo wants to do is record for history exactly what happens when an independent intellectual stands up to an authoritarian state from start to finish as it were..”

Published in: on February 14, 2010 at 10:09 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Committee referred to some of the matters mentioned on earlier posts on this […]

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