134 Nobel Laureates Urge Incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping to Release Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo and Wife Liu Xia
Citizens Petition to Chinese Government Launched at Change.Org by Archbishop Tutu
(Washington, D.C. – New York – Paris – London – Brussels – Geneva) Today, 134 Nobel Peace Laureates across all six Nobel disciplines wrote to incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping, urging him to immediately and unconditionally release Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. Liu Xia has been under house arrest since shortly after the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced her husband’s selection as the Peace Prize Laureate for 2010. The letter was released by the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo, which is comprised of six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and 15 non-governmental organizations.  The Nobel Laureates wrote:
Across all disciplines, the distinguishing feature which led to our recognition as Nobel Laureates is that we have embraced the power of our intellectual freedom and creative inspiration to do our part to advance the human condition. No government can restrict freedom of thought and association without having a negative effect on such important human innovation.
Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu (Peace 1984) and Sir Richard Roberts (Physiology or Medicine 1993) are leading this initiative with the support of Freedom Now, which serves as international counsel to both Liu Xiaobo and his wife. The letter from Nobel Laureates sends a powerful message to the Chinese government that releasing Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia will send a positive signal about the new leadership’s priorities and that their ongoing detention hinders China’s development and damages its international stature:
“I hope that the Chinese authorities appreciate the diversity of extraordinary achievement represented by the Nobel Laureates who have written to them today,” said Archbishop Tutu. “Our effort is not to embarrass China but rather to implore the government to take a different approach that would help China develop in the best way for all its people,” he noted. “By releasing Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, China can demonstrate its strength and show that it is not fearful of those who seek dialogue about the most effective ways to reform its government,” added Richard Roberts.
In addition to launching this letter today, Archbishop Tutu, on behalf of his fellow Laureates, launched a global citizen petition drive to the incoming Chinese President urging Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia’s immediate release.
For further information, please contact:
- Jared Genser, Freedom Now and International Counsel to Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia (English): email@example.com, +1-202-320-4135
- Yang Jianli, Initiatives for China (Mandarin, English):
- Marie Holzman, China Solidarity (French, Mandarin):
- Thor Halvorssen, Human Rights Foundation (Spanish, English): firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-212-664-8464
- Alain Bouc, Human Rights League (French):
email@example.com, +33 1 42 57 34 66
- Christine Laroque, ACAT-France (French, English):
- Emmanouil Athanasiou, International Committee for Liu Xiaobo Secretariat (French, English, Greek): firstname.lastname@example.org, + 33-685-735-495
|December 4, 2012The Honorable Xi Jinping
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu, Beijing City
People’s Republic of China
Dear Mr. Xi,
As you have taken the first step towards assuming the presidency of the People’s Republic of China, we write to welcome the prospect of fresh leadership and new ideas. To that end, we respectfully urge you to release Dr. Liu Xiaobo, the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Prize Laureate, and his wife, Liu Xia.
On December 25, 2009, your government sentenced Dr. Liu, a highly respected intellectual and democracy advocate, to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion.” The charges were based on his political essays and co-authorship of “Charter 08,” which called for full political reform in China based on the principles of human rights, freedom, and democracy. Shortly after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Dr. Liu its Prize, the government placed Liu Xia under house arrest, where she remains cut off from the outside world two years later without charge or the benefit of any legal process. In response to the continued detentions of Dr. Liu and Liu Xia, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, an independent and impartial body of experts, issued Opinions No. 15-16/2011, finding their detentions to be in violation of international law; however, despite this finding their cases remain unresolved.
Across all disciplines, the distinguishing feature which led to our recognition as Nobel Laureates is that we have embraced the power of our intellectual freedom and creative inspiration to do our part to advance the human condition. No government can restrict freedom of thought and association without having a negative effect on such important human innovation. Indeed, we Laureates are distressed that your government continues to block access to the main Nobel Prize web site (www.nobelprize.org).
During former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States in 2011, he recognized that “a lot still needs to be done in China on human rights.” While we welcome such honest assessments, we hope that China’s new political leadership will move past merely recognizing the problem and seize this important opportunity to take concrete steps towards embracing the fundamental rights of all Chinese citizens. An essential first step is the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.
134 Nobel Prize Laureates