Honorable Michael Posner
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
July 22, 2012
Dear Assistant Secretary Posner,
We are writing to urge you to firmly press China to free Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo during the 17th session of U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue with your counterpart Chen Xu, Director General for International Organizations and Conferences of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As you well know, Dr. Liu is serving an 11-year jail sentence in a Liaoning provincial prison of Northeastern China for drafting Charter 08 to peacefully call for greater freedoms and democracy in China within the Chinese Constitutional framework. Nearly four years since his incarceration and two years since his Nobel Peace Prize, despite many calls for his release from every corner of the earth, including 15 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Dr. Liu remains the only Nobel Peace Prize winner who is currently in jail as a prisoner of conscience, suffering from the repressive treatment of the Chinese communist regime.
Liu Xia, wife of Dr. Liu and a well-known artist herself, has been mentally tortured since her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Liu Xia has been placed under house arrest at the couple’s home in Beijing even though she has not been charged with any crime. Liu Xia’s freedom of movement has been severely restricted. Her contact with the outside world has been completely cut off and visitors are not allowed to see her. At one point, Liu Xia was close to a nervous breakdown.
We hold that the Chinese government’s persecution of Dr. Liu Xiaobo and his wife is a gross human rights violation under international law, such as Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory; it also violates Chinese law under Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution. The U.S. government must help to rectify this abuse.
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, another Nobel Peace laureate, recently regained her freedom with the help of the world’s democratic countries, and is now a Member of Parliament and the leader of Burma’s democratic opposition, playing a key role in Burma’s democratization. We believe the release of Dr. Liu Xiaobo will energize and unify democratic and civic groups, and bring a peaceful and gradual transition to a civil society in China.
We therefore strongly urge you to place Dr. Liu’s immediate and unconditional release at the top of your agenda, when you discuss rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, labor rights, and other human rights issues with your Chinese counterpart. Furthermore, we urge you to encourage Secretary Clinton to make Liu’s release a priority of the overall U.S.-China agenda, not just the human-rights agenda.
President of Initiatives for China
Former Political Prisoner in China (2002-2007)