BULLETIN: Chinese dissident writer Liu XiaoBo dies of cancer, age 61

BULLETIN: Chinese dissident writer Liu XiaoBo dies of cancer, age 61
Nobel laureate Liú Xiǎobō 刘晓波, who had been imprisoned in China in 2009 on charges of subversion, has died in a Liaoning hospital at age 61, news media reported today. Liu was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer earlier this year, and released on a medical parole in May. But his condition did not improve, and his health rapidly declined in the last two weeks. Doctors reported his internal organs were shutting down two days ago, but dialysis seemed to improve his condition somewhat. The writer co-authored Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto which urged the Chinese Communist Party to abide by the Chinese constitution’s protection of civil rights and political freedom. In 2009 he was arrested on charges of “subversion of state power” and sentenced to 11 years in prison. A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia, as China refused permission for Liu or any member of his family to travel to Oslo to accept the prize. Liu Xia, his wife, has been under house arrest since 2010, despite no formal charges against her. She was allowed to visit her husband in hospital, however. As the government has heavily censored news of Liu and his Nobel ...

Chinese Nobel laureate Liu XiaoBo in critical condition

Chinese Nobel laureate Liu XiaoBo in critical condition
Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liú Xiǎobō 刘晓波 is in critical condition in a Chinese hospital, the South China Morning Post reported today. A medical team is on standby to resuscitate him if necessary. Liu, 61, was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and released from prison on medical parole in May. One of the principal authors of Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto, Liu was arrested and convicted in 2009 on charges of subverting state power. In 2010 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Chinese government had ignored international appeals for his release until his health deteriorated earlier this year. Since May Liu has been treated in a hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning province. His condition rapidly worsened last week. Two foreign doctors recommended he be flown to an overseas hospital for more aggressive treatments, but his Chinese doctors claim he is too weak to be moved. This quote from the South China Morning Post suggests it is the government that has advised against moving Liu, however. Asked on Monday if Liu would be allowed to go overseas for treatment, Reuters reported that foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “China hopes relevant countries will respect China’s sovereignty and ...

Chinese Nobel winner to be freed from prison for cancer treatment

Chinese Nobel winner to be freed from prison for cancer treatment
JISHOU, HUNAN — Eight years after being jailed for alleged political crimes, Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liú Xiǎobō 刘晓波 will be released on medical parole, the South China Morning Post reports. Liu, 61, has terminal liver cancer, his lawyer told the Post. He is being treated outside the prison in Shenyang, Liaoning province. As one of the authors of the pro-democracy Charter 08 Manifesto, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” According to Wikipedia, Liu is the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China. One might assume that China would be proud, but the government has taken care to censor the news of Liu’s award and his incarceration. China’s government has not acknowledged the prize, other than to advise international delegates in 2010 to boycott the award ceremony or face “consequences.” Until Liu’s diagnosis in May, Beijing had refused international appeals to release him. His wife, Liú Xiá 刘霞, has also been under house arrest. Liu was arrested and tried in 2009 on charges of subversion of state power.

Tian’anmen Square protests, 25 years on

JISHOU, HUNAN — In the spring of 1989, hundreds of thousands of Chinese university students, intellectuals and other citizens occupied Tian’anmen Square in Beijing, demanding greater civil rights and social freedom to parallel China’s new free-market economic policies. The protests ended in bloody clashes between protesters, police and the army on June 4, leaving 2,600 dead and 2,000 injured, according to Red Cross estimates. In addition. 400 soldiers went missing. Other organizations have higher casualty estimates, and as high as 5,000 dead. In any event, it was one of the bloodiest events in recent Chinese history, and a protest movement that has yet to be repeated. Officially, the protests and the crackdown allegedly authorized by then-Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping 邓小平 never happened. China’s history books and the national history museum say nothing about the Tian’anmen protests, and if they do, no mention is made of the thousands of casualties. The government’s censors have blocked Internet searches of the event, and even the date. Searching Wikipedia’s English and Chinese sites will get you nowhere. (I used the Spanish site to check my facts. You Anglophiles can use the English site if you prefer — if you’re outside mainland China.) In the ...

Dissidents released just before Chinese premier visits the UK

JISHOU, CHINA — What a coincidence. Days before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited British Prime Minister David Cameron to sign trade deals worth $2.2 billion, Chinese officials released two prominent dissidents, Ai WeiWei and Hu Jia. Cameron, pro forma, gave some lip service to preserving human rights as he signed the trade agreements worth £1.4 billion, while Wen gave the usual Chinese reply — “MYOB” — though somewhat more diplomatically than my shorter version. Last week, Ai, an internationally known artist, was finally released on bail after being picked up in a Hong Kong airport three months ago and kept virtually incognito. He was charged officially with tax evasion, but he also has been a vocal political gadfly in China. Ai has been publicizing the names of students who died when their “tofu-construction” schools collapsed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The state news agency reported Ai, 54, was released because he had confessed to his crimes and because he was in poor health. Prior to his arrest, Ai, his family and his associates denied any tax evasion. Hu, 37, was also released at the end of his a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence on Sunday, which apparently was his official release date. ...

Chinese authorities charge Ai WeiWei with tax evasion, bigamy

JISHOU, HUNAN — Take this news with a grain of salt, since it comes from official sources via The AP. Dissident artist Ai WeiWei, who has been detained for the last two weeks, has been charged with tax evasion, destroying evidence and bigamy. No figures were given regarding how much tax Ai owes (if any), and his family has denied the charges, anyway. “He has made the government unhappy by speaking up for ordinary people,” Ai’s sister Gao Ge told The Associated Press. “Now the government wants to get him back.” Ai has been openly critical of government officials, challenging them through China’s own legal system to uphold constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech and equal protection under the law. He was a public supporter of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who is serving a 11-year sentence in China for “inciting subversion of state power.” (As in co-authoring Charter ’08, a call for more democracy in China. Very subversive. Yeah.) The government newspaper Wen Wei Po, which is published in Hong Kong, has been smearing Ai as part of the government’s efforts to discredit him. In addition to the tax evasion charge, he is being held for allegedly ...

Prominent Chinese dissident artist Ai WeiWei “disappears”

JISHOU, HUNAN — Chinese authorities have apparently detained artist Ai WeiWei, after they prevented him from flying overseas from Hong Kong’s airport on Sunday. His whereabouts remain unknown. Following the public protests in several Middle Eastern and North African countries, China’s political bosses have been rounding up dissidents left and right, in an effort to quell any similar movements here. Ai has had several run-ins with authorities already. He was blocked from attending the ceremony awarding Liu Xiaobo (who is in prison) the Nobel Peace Prize, one of his art studios near Shanghai was bulldozed, and in recent weeks, the cops have visited his offices and studios several times. The artist, who designed the Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium, had been keeping a running tally of dissident detentions on a Twitter feed that had 70,000 followers. I guess the politicos didn’t like that many people knowing what they’re up to. The AP has the story, though The Guardian has a more detailed one. Incidentally, the Chinese constitution guarantees freedom of the press and freedom of expression. It’s just applied very selectively.

Chinese government tears down dissident artist’s studio

JISHOU, HUNAN — Beijing artist Ai WeiWei is a vocal critic of China’s Communist Party. While party officials have not arrested him (yet), they seem to take special glee in making his life miserable. On Tuesday, government officials authorized the demolition of Ai’s newly built artists’ studio in a village outside Shanghai. The link above will take you the complete article at The New York Times.

Chinese netizens evade censorship about Nobel winner Liu XiaoBo

JISHOU, HUNAN — Chinese dissident Liu XiaoBo received the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Friday, in absentia since he is still serving an 11-year prison sentence in China. The Chinese government was far from happy with the international attention paid Liu, who co-authored Charter ’08, a manifesto for democratic reforms in the Middle Kingdom. Foreign TV news coverage was blacked out, major news sites like the BBC and CNN were blocked, and any mentions of the award on domestic sites were rapidly deleted by the government’s army of censors. But netizens here are used to government censorship, and they have developed their own sly ways of getting their points across without being overt. One example is the “grass mud horse,” a mythical llama-like creature whose name in Chinese sounds much like telling someone to have sex with his mother. (Cuss words are usually censored in the media here. Well, the Chinese ones, anyway.) Danwei.org reports that admirers of Liu have been posting tributes on Twitter to other people surnamed Liu. The tributes have a double meaning — praise of Liu XiaoBo and also the other figure sharing his family name. here are some examples. Their names are linked to Wikipedia articles ...

Nobel ceremony is Friday – guess who won’t be there 1

[Updated November 7.] JISHOU, HUNAN — The recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, Liu XiaoBo of China, is still in prison serving out an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion.” His wife is confined — unwillingly — to her Beijing home. Liu’s brothers are under close observation. A noted Chinese artist, Ai WeiWei, has been prevented from leaving China. Get the picture? Liu’s “crime,” according to Beijing, is his involvement in writing Charter ’08. The document, signed by thousands of Chinese, calls for a multi-party political system and guarantees of human rights already included in the Chinese constitution. That the Nobel committee selected Liu for the Peace Prize has China’s party leaders very pissed off, since it calls attention to his status as a political prisoner. Despite calls from international leaders to release him, Beijing continues to keep him in prison, and his family members in China. It means that prize itself will not be handed out to anyone. From the BBC: It also appears likely that the prize itself will not be handed out during the ceremony because no-one from Liu Xiaobo’s family has said they can attend, the Nobel committee secretary says. The $1.4m (£900,000) award can be ...
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