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Call for release of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and wife Liu Xia

UPDATE: In a campaign led by the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo with the support of Amnesty International and other NGOs including Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch, petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world were delivered on 27 February 2013 to Chinese embassies to demand the immediate release of imprisoned Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia. See: China: New Global Effort to Free Liu Xiaobo

Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, with his wife Liu Xia, in Beijing in 2008
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, with his wife Liu Xia, in Beijing in 2008
Jailed Chinese Nobel Peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo has the support of 134 fellow Nobel Laureates and other supporters who have called on the Chinese government to free him and his wife Liu Xia.

In addition, in December 2012 Archbishop Desmond Tutu launched a global petition addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping urging their immediate release.

Liu Xiaobo, a well-known writer and critic, was arrested on 8 December 2008, for his involvement in drafting "Charter 08," a pro-democracy and human rights manifesto. His wife, artist Liu Xia, has been under house arrest since October 2010 when her husband's award was announced, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). "She is being denied basic freedoms although never convicted by any court," says RSF.

Join over 450,000 people and sign the petition for their release now.

BACKGROUND:

On 4 December 2012, 134 Nobel Laureates across all six Nobel disciplines wrote to incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping, urging him to immediately and unconditionally release Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. Liu Xia has been under house arrest since shortly after the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced her husband's selection as the Peace Prize Laureate for 2010. The letter was released by the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo, which is comprised of six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and 15 nongovernmental organizations.

The Nobel Laureates wrote: "Across all disciplines, the distinguishing feature which led to our recognition as Nobel Laureates is that we have embraced the power of our intellectual freedom and creative inspiration to do our part to advance the human condition."

No government can restrict freedom of thought and association without having a negative effect on such important human innovation.

Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu (Peace 1984) and Sir Richard Roberts (Physiology or Medicine 1993) are leading this initiative with the support of Freedom Now, which serves as international counsel to both Liu Xiaobo and his wife. The letter from Nobel Laureates sends a powerful message to the Chinese government that releasing Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia will send a positive signal about the new leadership's priorities and that their ongoing detention hinders China's development and damages its international stature:

"I hope that the Chinese authorities appreciate the diversity of extraordinary achievement represented by the Nobel Laureates who have written to them today," said Archbishop Tutu. "Our effort is not to embarrass China but rather to implore the government to take a different approach that would help China develop in the best way for all its people," he noted. "By releasing Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, China can demonstrate its strength and show that it is not fearful of those who seek dialogue about the most effective ways to reform its government," added Richard Roberts.

WHAT OTHER IFEX MEMBERS ARE SAYING:

Activists break through security to visit Liu Xia (PEN American Center)

PEN urges immediate release of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo from prison and his wife Liu Xia from house arrest on International Human Rights Day (Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International)

Interview with jailed Nobel Laureate's wife highlights severe toll on free expression (PEN American Center)

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