Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo transferred to prison camp
On Christmas Day last year, Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his part in creating Charter 08, a document calling for greater freedoms and democratic reforms in China. On Tuesday, the international human rights and literary organization PEN announced that it has learned that Liu Xiaobo has been moved from a detention center in Beijing to Jinzhou Prison in Liaoning.
On New Year's Eve, E.L. Doctorow, Don DeLillo and other writers stood on the steps of the New York Public Library calling for his release. China, Doctorow said, "can't move forward when its poets and writers and artists, its thinkers and intellectuals are muzzled in silence. Under such conditions the genius of a nation withers and dies." A major demonstration in support of Liu Xiaobo took place the next day at the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong.
These efforts held little sway. An appeal by Liu Xiaobo was rejected in February, which was the last time his wife Liu Xia met with him. Liu Xia learned on May 30 that her husband had been moved the previous week; although she has been told she will be able to visit him, the trip takes several hours by train from their home in Beijing.
Liu Xiaobo is a former president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. Three hundred and three writers and intellectuals signed Charter 08 in December 2008; Liu Xiaobo's arrest came about a year later and his trial lasted just three hours. After the trial, U.S. Embassy First Secretary Greg May said America is "deeply concerned by the sentence," adding that "persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of their political views is inconsistent with internationally recognized norms of human rights."
“It is important to remember that Liu Xiaobo committed no crime," Larry Siems, director of the Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center, said after his transfer to Jinzhou Prison. "PEN continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release."
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Pro-democracy demonstrators march on China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong with banners calling for Liu Xiaobo's release in January 2010. Credit: Kin Cheung / Associated Press