CHINA: International Campaign Continues for Poet and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo
PEN International WiPC | 7 February 2013
As part of the International Campaign for Liu Xiaobo launched in December 2012, PEN International and Front Line Defenders are calling on writers and human rights defenders worldwide to take action during the first week of March 2013 to coincide with the political leadership transition in China.
We are calling on writers and human rights defenders worldwide to organise solidarity events outside Chinese embassies in their country during the first week of March. At these events, readings of Liu’s work can be organized, along with projection of the videos that are available from the campaign website www.lighthonestyhrd.org . Photos, videos, petitions, etc. from these events will then be shared via the website and social media to promote attention to the ongoing imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo and other writers and human rights defenders detained in China.
Show your support by taking part in at least one of the following actions.
PEN Centres are urged to stage public events and write appeals from 1-10 March 2013 to express solidarity with Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia, and all writers and activists currently detained in the P.R.China.
Press and Publicity
- Organise a solidarity event outside a Chinese embassy or prominent public space or building in your country during the first week of March 2013.
- Stage readings of Liu’s poetry and a street projection of the compiled video in your event: www.lighthonestyhrd.org
- Write articles for publication in the press.
Details of events will be publicized via the campaign website www.lighthonestyhrd.org, so you should email Adam Shapiro (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cathy McCann (email@example.com) with the date, place and time of your event as soon as possible, so that we can publicise your event and ensure that you are linked up with other interested groups in your area.
Appeals to Chinese Embassies:
Send appeals demanding the immediate and unconditional release of poet and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, and all those detained in China in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and Article 35 of its own constitution.
WiPC strongly recommends that you send or, if possible, personally deliver the appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it to the Chinese authorities and welcoming any comments - see below for guidance.
Send appeals to:
His Excellency Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. WiPC recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.
You may find it easier to write to the Chinese ambassador in your own country asking him or her to forward your appeal. Most embassies are obliged to forward such appeals to the relevant officials in the country. A letter or petition signed by an eminent member of your Centre may give make it more likely for your appeal to be considered. Similarly if your appeal is published in your local press and copied to the Chinese ambassador, this too may have greater impact.
See this useful link to find the contact details of the Chinese embassy in your country Chinese embassies abroad
From 1 March 2013, there will be a facility to send appeals electronically to the Chinese ambassador in your country via the campaign website www.lighthonestyhrd.org
**Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 31 March 2013**
- Elect a Chinese writer as an Honorary Member of your Centre and by doing so provide long term support and advocacy for him/her and their family. For details of the International PEN Honorary Membership scheme, read the PEN WiPC Guide to Defending Writers Under Attack (Part V, pgs 15-20). Please let us know if you do so and we will ensure that your Centre is networked with others working on the case.
- Send cards to as many Chinese writers in prison as you can. This has been shown to afford detainees better treatment in prison, as well as providing moral support. A list of main cases and prison addresses is attached.
Join the global petition to the incoming Chinese Chinese President Xi Jinping for the release of Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu on behalf of 134 Nobel Laureates
**Please remember to let the PEN International office know about any actions undertaken, and please send us links to any press coverage so that we can share it with other centres.**
LIU XIAOBO: Case background
Liu Xiaobo was arrested on 8 December 2008 and held under ‘residential surveillance’, a form of pre-trial detention, at an undisclosed location in Beijing until he was formally charged on 23 June 2009 with ‘spreading rumours and defaming the government, aimed at subversion of the state and overthrowing the socialism system in recent years’. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison on 25 December 2009. The verdict offered as evidence seven phrases that he penned from 2005 until his detention—all either quotations from his many essays or from Charter 08, which Liu had helped draft.
Liu Xiaobo first received support from PEN International in 1989, when he was one of a group of writers and intellectuals given the label the “Black Hands of Beijing” by the government and arrested for their part in the Tiananmen Square protests. Prior to his current arrest, Liu has spent a total of five years in prison, including a three year sentence passed in 1996, and has suffered frequent short arrests, harassment and censorship. For more samples of his writings and other resources, go to the PEN Americawebsite.
For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: firstname.lastname@example.org