Liu XiaoboChina

2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese scholar and renowned dissident who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” on December 25, 2009, for his role in drafting Charter 08. An English-version of Charter 08 can be read here. Dr. Liu was widely considered China’s most prominent dissident. He was selected to receive the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

The Chinese government previously detained Dr. Liu for his peaceful democracy advocacy on three occasions, including his participation in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Dr. Liu was one of four intellectuals who negotiated with the army for the safe passage of students out of the Square.

In 2008, Dr. Liu was one of the primary drafters of Charter 08, a political manifesto modeled on the Czechoslovakian Charter ’77. Charter 08 calls for increased rule of law, greater respect for human rights, and the end to one-party rule in China. Although mention of the online petition is not allowed within China’s great Internet firewall, to date, Charter 08 has been signed by almost 10,000 Chinese citizens and is considered influential in beginning to unite the Chinese dissident movement.

The Chinese government detained Dr. Liu on December 8, 2008—two days before the official release of Charter 08 on the 60th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The government held Dr. Liu in solitary confinement and denied him access to his lawyers.

Dr. Liu was not formally arrested until June 23, 2009, when the State News Agency, Xinhua, quoted police as saying in a statement that ”Liu has been engaged in agitation activities, such as spreading of rumors and defaming of the government, aimed at subversion of the state and overthrowing the socialism system in recent years.”

On December 23, 2009, Dr. Liu was tried for “inciting subversion to state power” under Article 105 of the Chinese Criminal Procedure Code. His trial violated international standards for due process of law. His wife, Liu Xia, and foreign diplomats and journalists were not allowed to attend the trial. On December 25, 2009, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years deprivation of political rights. In the verdict, his signing of Charter 08 was named as part of the evidence against him.

After the Nobel Committee announced that Dr. Liu was the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, was placed under de facto house arrest. Liu Xia was escorted to Jinzhou prison to inform Dr. Liu that he won the Nobel Peace Prize and subsequently escorted back to her Beijing apartment, where she remains detained today. Her communication with the outside world is restricted.

Heads of state, prominent intellectuals, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have called for Dr. Liu’s release. Dr. Liu was nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize by Freedom Now Honorary Co-chairs Archbishop Desmond Tutu and The Honorable Václav Havel, as well as the Dalai Lama, André Glucksmann, Vartan Gregorian, Mike Moore, Karel Schwarzenberg, and Grigory Yavlinsky.

Dr. Liu was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in May 2017 and released on medical parole the following month to undergo treatment. He passed away on July 13, 2017.

Liu Xia remains under house arrest.

Selected documents from Liu Xiaobo's case
12 Nobel Peace Laureates Urge President Obama to Call for Release of Liu Xiaobo and Liu XiaSeptember 23, 2015

Freedom Now statement on letter from 12 Nobel Peace Laureates to President Obama

12 Nobel Peace Laureates Urge UK Prime Minister to Call for Release of Liu Xiaobo and Liu XiaOctober 20, 2015

Freedom Now statement on letter from 12 Nobel Peace Laureates

China Must Release Liu Xiaobo - Or Lose Its CredibilityDecember 5, 2010

Observer op-ed by Václav Havel and Desmond Tutu.

Dear President Trump: Please Let Liu Xiaobo Dies As A Free ManJune 27, 2017

An op-ed by Jared Genser and Yang Jianli upon the release of Liu Xiaobo on medical parole.

Desmond Tutu's Plea: Stand Up for Liu XiaoboJune 3, 2013

Los Angeles Times op-ed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jared Genser.

Empty Chairs in Oslo Speak VolumesNovember 11, 2010

Wall Street Journal (Asia) op-ed by Jerome A. Cohen and Eva Pils.

Free Liu XiaoboOctober 8, 2012

Huffington Post op-ed by Jared Genser.

If China Frees Nobel Winner, It Will Show Its StrengthOctober 22, 2010

Washington Post op-ed by Václav Havel and Desmond M. Tutu.

Letter from 134 Nobel LaureatesDecember 4, 2012

Calling for the release of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.

Letter from 14 Members of the UK House of LordsNovember 5, 2010

Urging Prime Minister Cameron to raise the cases of Gao Zhisheng and Liu Xiaobo during the G-20 Summit.

Letter from 15 Nobel Peace Prize LaureatesOctober 25, 2010

Calling on world leaders to press for the release Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia during the G-20 Summit.

Letter from 154 Nobel Laureates to President Xi JinpingJune 29, 2017

154 Nobel Laureates Urge Chinese President Xi Jinping to Allow Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia to Travel to the US for Medical Treatment

Letter from 30 Members of the U.S. CongressJanuary 14, 2011

Calling on President Obama to highlight individual prisoner cases, including Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng, during bilateral meetings.

Letter from 30 Members of the U.S. CongressOctober 6, 2010

Calling on President Obama to raise the cases of Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng during the G-20 Summit.

Letter from Member of U.S. CongressJanuary 14, 2011

Calling on President Obama to highlight individual prisoner cases, including Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng, during bilateral meetings.

Liu Case Lost in Keen Bid for TradeJuly 26, 2013

The Australian op-ed by Jared Genser.

Liu Xiaobo Deserved the Nobel PrizeJanuary 4, 2011

Ottawa Citizen op-ed by David Kilgour.

Liu Xiaobo's Dreams of a Democratic China Will Never DieJuly 13, 2017

Op-ed by Jared Genser in U.S. News and World Report after the passing of Liu Xiaobo

Mr. Obama, Speak Up for Human Rights in ChinaJanuary 19, 2011

Washington Post op-ed by former Freedom Now client Dr. Yang Jianli.

NGO LetterJune 6, 2013

Calling on President Obama to raise the "China 16" during bilateral meetings.

Nobel Prize and Human RightsOctober 13, 2011

Korea Times op-ed by Jared Genser.

Opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary DetentionAugust 1, 2011

Finding the detention of Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia to be arbitrary under international law.

Petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary DetentionNovember 4, 2010

Submitted on behalf of Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia.

Petition to the UN Working Group on Enforced of Involuntary DisappearancesAugust 1, 2017

Petition to the UN Working Group on Enforced of Involuntary Disappearances on behalf of Liu Xia

Press ReleaseDecember 10, 2010

Deploring the decision by the Chinese government to prevent Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia from attending the 2010 Nobel Prize ceremony.

Press ReleaseOctober 10, 2010

Announcing that Liu Xiaobo's wife Liu Xia has been detained under house arrest.

Press ReleaseOctober 8, 2010

Freedom Now Client Liu Xiaobo selected as 2010 recipient of Nobel Peace Prize: statement from Liu Xiaobo's wife Liu Xia.

Press ReleaseDecember 8, 2011

Announcing the launch of the Committee of Support to Liu Xiaobo.

Press ReleaseFebruary 27, 2013

New Global Effort to Free Liu Xiaobo: 450,000 citizens in 130 countries join 134 Nobel Laureates in calling for release of Liu Xiaobo.

Resolution of the Canadian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human RightsDecember 14, 2010

Passed in the Subcommittee unanimously and congratulating Liu Xiaobo on the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Senate Resolution in Honor of Liu XiaoboMay 18, 2017

Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a resolution to rename the plaza in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. as "Liu Xiaobo Plaza."

Submission to the Committee against TortureOctober 22, 2015

Submission to the Committee against Torture regarding the treatment of Liu Xia

Submission to the UN High Commissioner for Human RightsMarch 4, 2013

Report submitted by Freedom Now on the use of arbitrary detention by the Government of the People's Republic of China as part of the Universal Periodic Review process of the UN Human Rights Council.

Testimony of Jared GenserApril 9, 2013

Before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Investigations ("Chen Guangcheng and Gao Zhisheng: Human Rights in China").

Testimony of Jared GenserJuly 25, 2012

Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs ("Investigating the Chinese Threat: Human Rights Abuses, Torture and Disappearances").

Testimony of Patrick GriffithDecember 12, 2012

Before the Congressional Executive Commission on China ("Two Years Later: The Ongoing Detentions of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo and His Wife Liu Xia").

The Ordeal of China's Liu XiaMarch 30, 2014

Wall Street Journal op-ed by Desmond M. Tutu and Jared Genser.

The West Must Not Forget Liu Xiaobo's PlightAugust 1, 2011

The Times (London) op-ed by Jared Genser.

U.S. House of Representatives Resolution 1717December 8, 2010

Congratulating imprisoned Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo on the award of the 201 Nobel Peace Prize.

UN Calls for Liu Xiaobo's ReleaseAugust 7, 2011

Voice of America editorial.