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Human Rights and Rule of Law - News and Analysis

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Advocacy Groups Deliver Petitions Calling for Release of Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia

March 28, 2013

On February 27, 2013, the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo, a committee comprised of 6 Nobel Peace Prize laureates and 15 non-governmental organizations, delivered petitions to Chinese Embassies and authorities, calling for the immediate release of imprisoned Nobel laureate and democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo and his wife, detained artist Liu Xia. In December 2012, Nobel laureate and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu created the petition and wrote a letter, signed by 134 fellow Nobel Prize winners, to then incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping. Hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide have since signed the petition. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has declared the detentions of Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia to be in violation of China's obligations under international law.

On February 27, 2013, the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo, a committee comprised of 6 Nobel Peace Prize laureates and 15 non-governmental organizations, led a petition campaign to deliver hundreds of thousands of signatures to Chinese Embassies and authorities, calling for the immediate release of imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. South African Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu created the initial online petition (available here on Change.org) and wrote a letter, signed by 134 fellow Nobel laureates, to China's then incoming President Xi Jinping in December 2012, in response to the ongoing imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo and the illegal "house arrest" of Liu Xia. According to a February 28, 2013, Amnesty International report, more than 450,000 people from 130 countries signed the petitions, which were reportedly delivered to Chinese authorities in Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, London, New York, and Washington DC. (For additional reporting on the petition campaign and advocacy, see also a February 28, 2013, article from the Taipei Times, and a February 27, 2013, Agence France-Presse article, available via Google News.)

In a February 27, 2013, press release by International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)í¬a non-governmental federation for human rights organizationsí¬leaders of the movement spoke out in support of Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia:
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace laureate: "These petitions represent the voices of people around the globe imploring the new Chinese government to release Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. We hope this will show China that the world supports their willingness to hear the voices of their people."
  • Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International: "Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of Chinese who are currently silenced. This show of solidarity from people all over the world sends a powerful message to the Chinese government to free this courageous couple and all other prisoners of conscience..."
  • Jared Genser, Founder of Freedom Now: "Clearly, the citizens' movement led by Archbishop Tutu speaks with one voice when it calls for the immediate release of the Lius. We urge the Chinese government to heed this moral imperative."
Nobel laureate and democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo remains in prison more than two years after the Nobel Committee awarded him the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for what it deemed to be "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." Liu is serving the fourth year of an 11-year sentence, while authorities hold his wife under a de facto form of house arrest. On December 12, 2012, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a hearing on Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia's ongoing detentions.

For information about the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's Opinions on Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia's detentions, please see the Commission's previous analysis, "UN Group Calls for Immediate Release of Liu Xiaobo and Wife Liu Xia." For more information about writers in China, please see Section IIIí¬Freedom of Expression in the CECC 2012 Annual Report.

Source: -See Summary (2013-02-28 ) | Posted on: 2013-03-28  
 Link directly to this item with: http://www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/index.phpd?showsingle=186811