Citizens Petition to Chinese Government Launched at Change.Org by Archbishop Tutu
(Washington, D.C. – New York – Paris – London – Brussels – Geneva) Today, 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.
In addition to launching this letter today, Archbishop Tutu, on behalf of his fellow Laureates, launched a global citizen petition drive to the incoming Chinese President urging Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia’s immediate release.
For further information, please contact:
- Jared Genser, Freedom Now and International Counsel to Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia (English): email@example.com, +1-202-320-4135
- Yang Jianli, Initiatives for China (Mandarin, English): firstname.lastname@example.org, +1- 857-472-9039
- Marie Holzman, China Solidarity (French, Mandarin): email@example.com, +33-630-809-281
- Thor Halvorssen, Human Rights Foundation (Spanish, English): firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-212-664-8464
- Alain Bouc, Human Rights League (French): email@example.com, +33 1 42 57 34 66
- Christine Laroque, ACAT-France (French, English): firstname.lastname@example.org, +33-140- 4074-09
- Emmanouil Athanasiou, International Committee for Liu Xiaobo Secretariat (French, English,Greek): email@example.com, + 33-685-735-495
The International Committee for Liu Xiaobo is composed of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Ms. Tawakkol Karman, Ms. Mairead Maguire, Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, Ms. Betty Williams, and Ms. Jody Williams as well as the following non-governmental organizations: Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), Act for Human Rights (ADH), Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCFD- Terre Solidaire), China Solidarity, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Initiatives for China/Citizen Power for China, International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Freedom Now, Human Rights Foundation (HRF), Human Rights League (LDH), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Global Justice Center (GJC), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM). Until his passing, former Czech Republic President Václav Havel served on the Committee as well.
December 4, 2012
The Honorable Xi Jinping General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu, Beijing City People’s Republic of China
Dear Mr. Xi,
As you have taken the first step towards assuming the presidency of the People’s Republic of China, we write to welcome the prospect of fresh leadership and new ideas. To that end, we respectfully urge you to release Dr. Liu Xiaobo, the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and his wife, Liu Xia.
On December 25, 2009, your government sentenced Dr. Liu, a highly respected intellectual and democracy advocate, to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion.” The charges were based on his political essays and co-authorship of “Charter 08,” which called for peaceful political reform in China based on the principles of human rights, freedom, and democracy. Shortly after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Dr. Liu its Peace Prize, the government placed Liu Xia under house arrest, where she remains cut off from the outside world two years later without charge or the benefit of any legal process.
In response to the continued detentions of Dr. Liu and Liu Xia, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, an independent and impartial body of experts, issued Opinions No. 15-16/2011, finding their detentions to be in violation of international law; however, despite this finding their cases remain unresolved.
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. Indeed, we Laureates are distressed that your government continues to block access to the main Nobel Prize web site (www.nobelprize.org). During former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States in 2011, he recognized that “a lot still needs to be done in China on human rights.” While we welcome such honest assessments, we hope that China’s new political leadership will move past merely recognizing the problem and seize this important opportunity to take concrete steps towards embracing the fundamental rights of all Chinese citizens. An essential first step is the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.
134 Nobel Prize Laureates ( Name, Category, Prize Year ) Peter Agre Chemistry 2003 Thomas R. Cech Chemistry 1989 Martin Chalfie Chemistry 2008 Aaron Ciechanover Chemistry 2004 Paul J. Crutzen Chemistry 1995 Robert F. Curl Jr. Chemistry 1996 Johann Deisenhofer Chemistry 1988 2 of 4 Richard R. Ernst Chemistry 1991 Gerhard Ertl Chemistry 2007 Walter Gilbert Chemistry 1980 Robert H. Grubbs Chemistry 2005 Dudley R. Herschbach Chemistry 1986 Avram Hershko Chemistry 2004 Roald Hoffmann Chemistry 1981 Robert Huber Chemistry 1988 Roger D. Kornberg Chemistry 2006 Sir Harold Kroto Chemistry 1996 Yuan T. Lee Chemistry 1986 Mario J. Molina Chemistry 1995 Kary B. Mullis Chemistry 1993 John C. Polanyi Chemistry 1986 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Chemistry 2009 Richard R. Schrock Chemistry 2005 Jens C. Skou Chemistry 1997 Thomas A. Steitz Chemistry 2009 Roger Y. Tsien Chemistry 2008 Sir John E. Walker Chemistry 1997 Kurt Wuthrich Chemistry 2002 Ada E. Yonath Chemistry 2009 Kenneth J. Arrow Economics 1972 Peter A. Diamond Economics 2010 Daniel Kahneman Economics 2002 Finn E. Kydland Economics 2004 Robert E. Lucas Jr. Economics 1995 Harry M. Markowitz Economics 1990 Eric S. Maskin Economics 2007 Daniel L. McFadden Economics 2000 James A. Mirrlees Economics 1996 Dale T. Mortensen Economics 2010 Roger B. Myerson Economics 2007 Douglass C. North Economics 1993 Thomas J. Sargent Economics 2011 Thomas C. Schelling Economics 2005 Vernon L. Smith Economics 2002 Oliver E. Williamson Economics 2009 J. M. Coetzee Literature 2003 Gunter Grass Literature 1999 Elfriede Jelinek Literature 2004 Toni Morrison Literature 1993 Herta Muller Literature 2009 Tomas Transtromer Literature 2011 3 of 4 Mario Vargas Llosa Literature 2010 David Baltimore Medicine 1975 Francoise Barre-Sinoussi Medicine 2008 J. Michael Bishop Medicine 1989 Gunter Blobel Medicine 1999 Sydney Brenner Medicine 2002 Linda B. Buck Medicine 2004 Sir Martin J. Evans Medicine 2007 Andrew Z. Fire Medicine 2006 Edmond H. Fischer Medicine 1992 Alfred G. Gilman Medicine 1994 Paul Greengard Medicine 2000 Carol W. Greider Medicine 2009 Roger Guillemin Medicine 1977 Sir John B. Gurdon Medicine 2012 Leland H. Hartwell Medicine 2001 Harald zur Hausen Medicine 2008 H. Robert Horvitz Medicine 2002 David H. Hubel Medicine 1981 Tim Hunt Medicine 2001 Louis J. Ignarro Medicine 1998 Eric R. Kandel Medicine 2000 Rita Levi-Montalcini Medicine 1986 Craig C. Mello Medicine 2006 Joseph E. Murray Medicine 1990 Erwin Neher Medicine 1991 Sir Paul Nurse Medicine 2001 Christiane Nusslein-Volhard Medicine 1995 Stanley B. Prusiner Medicine 1997 Sir Richard J. Roberts Medicine 1993 Hamilton O. Smith Medicine 1978 John E. Sulston Medicine 2002 Jack W. Szostak Medicine 2009 E. Donnall Thomas Medicine 1990 J. Robin Warren Medicine 2005 Eric F. Wieschaus Medicine 1995 Torsten N. Wiesel Medicine 1981 Amnesty International Peace 1977 Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo Peace 1996 Mairead Maguire Peace 1976 Shirin Ebadi Peace 2003 Leymah Roberta Gbowee Peace 2011 Tawakkul Karman Peace 2011 The 14th Dalai Lama Peace 1989 4 of 4 Jose Ramos-Horta Peace 1996 Desmond Tutu Peace 1984 Elie Wiesel Peace 1986 Betty Williams Peace 1976 Jody Williams Peace 1997 Zhores I. Alferov Physics 2000 Leon N. Cooper Physics 1972 James Cronin Physics 1980 Jerome I. Friedman Physics 1990 Andre Geim Physics 2010 Riccardo Giacconi Physics 2002 Donald A. Glaser Physics 1960 Sheldon Glashow Physics 1979 Roy J. Glauber Physics 2005 David J. Gross Physics 2004 John L. Hall Physics 2005 Serge Haroche Physics 2012 Antony Hewish Physics 1974 Gerardus ’t Hooft Physics 1999 Brian D. Josephson Physics 1973 Charles K. Kao Physics 2009 Wolfgang Ketterle Physics 2001 Klaus von Klitzing Physics 1985 Leon M. Lederman Physics 1988 Anthony J. Leggett Physics 2003 John C. Mather Physics 2006 Douglas D. Osheroff Physics 1996 William D. Phillips Physics 1997 H. David Politzer Physics 2004 Robert C. Richardson Physics 1996 Adam G. Riess Physics 2011 Heinrich Rohrer Physics 1986 Brian P. Schmidt Physics 2011 Jack Steinberger Physics 1988 Joseph H. Taylor Jr. Physics 1993 Charles H. Townes Physics 1964 Steven Weinberg Physics 1979 Frank Wilczek Physics 2004 Robert Woodrow Wilson Physics 1978