UHRP Expresses Sorrow Over the Passing of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

For immediate Release
July 13, 2017 4:40 pm EST
Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project +1 (202) 478 1920

The Uyghur Human Rights Project wishes to extend condolences to the family of Liu Xiaobo and to acknowledge his contributions to the cause of human rights for the Chinese people.  UHRP wishes also to condemn his unjust imprisonment on charges of subversion and the Chinese government’s denial of treatment for the illness which led to his death.  His courage and dignity in the face of his undeserved treatment is an inspiration to those who envision a better future for China.

Liu’s condition was not revealed until he was close to death and he was untreatable.  It was not only Liu Xiaobo himself who sacrificed a great deal in the name of human rights for his nation, but also his family.  His wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest in 2010, which the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned in 2011.  Although Liu Xiaobo could not be saved, the international community should work to ensure that the Chinese government does not subject his wife to further unjust treatment.

Liu was detained in 2008 for his involvement in the publication of the Charter 08 manifesto which called for the end of one party rule in China and respect for basic human rights. In 2011, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “subversion.”  Among the rights Charter 08 called for were freedom of assembly, expression and religion based on the principle that “each individual, regardless of social status, occupation, gender, economic situation, ethnic group, skin color, religion, or political belief, is equal in human dignity and freedom.”  The charter called for the exploration of “possible ways and an institutional design to promote the mutual prospects of all ethnicities with great wisdom,” giving the Uyghurs and Tibetans a true opportunity for autonomy.

For his efforts Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2010.  This may have brought international attention to his struggle but it did not free him from his unjust imprisonment.  “The international community should condemn the treatment of Liu Xiaobo and others who have stood up for human rights,” said UHRP Director Omer Kanat.  “Hundreds of prisoners of conscience remain behind bars in China, including many Uyghurs, such as Ilham Tohti, who are there only because they exercised the rights that Liu Xiaobo and others called on the Chinese government to respect.”

UHRP urges the international community to take stock of the retrograde direction of rights in China and to publicly speak out against Beijing’s violations of international human rights standards . These are positive steps that can be taken outside China to bring the democratic change Liu Xiaobo so passionately advocated.