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450.000 Citizens in 130 Countries Join 135 Nobel Laureates to Demand Release

450.000 Citizens in 130 Countries Join 135 Nobel Laureates to Demand Release

Published on Wednesday 27 February 2013.
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Supporters of Liu Xiaobo the only imprisoned Nobel laureate and his wife Liu Xia deliver petition to Chinese embassies across the world

As a member of the committee that supports 2010 Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, Reporters Without Borders was part of delegation that today handed in a petition at the Chinese embassy in Paris calling for the Chinese dissident’s release and that of his wife Liu Xia.

“We hope that Liu Xiaobo, who is in prison, and Liu Xia, who is under a form of house arrest that is like imprisonment, will learn of this petition,” Reporters Without Borders said. “As well as being an appeal to Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping, who has the power to free Liu Xiaobo and his wife, it is also intended to be a message of support for all those who are fighting for freedom of information and expression in China.”


***PRESS RELEASE***
China: New Global Effort to Free Liu Xiaobo
450.000 Citizens in 130 Countries Join 135 Nobel Laureates to Demand Release

Supporters of Liu Xiaobo the only imprisoned Nobel laureate and his wife Liu Xia deliver petition to Chinese embassies across the world

HONG KONG, PARIS, WASHINGTON, DC, 27th February 2013 – In a campaign led by the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo with the support of Amnesty International, petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world were delivered today to Chinese embassies to demand the immediate release of imprisoned Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia. The petitions are part of a campaign created by Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Change.org.

The campaign was launched in solidarity with a letter signed by 135 Nobel laureates demanding Liu’s freedom. More than 450,000 people from 130 countries signed the petition that was delivered to Chinese authorities in Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, London, New York, and Washington DC.

“Today, 450,000 petitions were delivered to Chinese authorities in Hong Kong, Paris, Washington, and other cities.” said Archbishop Tutu, who started the petition demanding freedom for his fellow Nobel Laureate Liu. “These petitions represent the voices of people around the globe imploring the new Chinese government to release Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. We hope this will show China that the world supports their willingness to hear the voices of their people.”

Liu Xiaobo has been detained since December 2008, and his wife has been under house arrest since October 2010. The Nobel Laureate is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power" for his part as the leading author behind “Charter ‘08”, a manifesto calling for the respect of fundamental human rights in China.

From Hong Kong to Washington, supporters took symbolic photographs of themselves in front of local landmarks, with a picture of Liu on an empty chair to highlight his imprisonment, before delivering the petition.

“It is wonderful to see such a massive and genuine outpouring of support for Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia,” said Jared Genser, the founder of Freedom Now—a member organization of the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo—and international pro bono counsel to the Lius. “Clearly, the citizens’ movement lead by Archbishop Tutu speaks with one voice when it calls for the immediate release of the Lius. We urge the Chinese government to heed this moral imperative.”

Since the launch of the campaign in December last year, every new signature to the petition on Change.org has sent an email to officials in Chinese consulates and embassies around the world.

“Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of Chinese who are currently silenced. This show of solidarity from people all over the world sends a powerful message to the Chinese government to free this courageous couple and all other prisoners of conscience,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Live signature totals from Archbishop Tutu’s campaign

For more information, please contact:

The International Committee for Liu Xiaobo: Emmanouil Athanasiou, +33 6 85 73 54 95

Freedom Now: Patrick Griffith, pgriffith@freedom-now.org, +1.202.223.3733 China Solidarity (CS): Marie Holzman, marie@holzman.fr, +33-630-809-281

Initiatives for China: John King, johnking@initiativesforchina.org

French Human Rights League: Alain Bouc: alainbouc@sfr.fr, +33 1 42 57 34 66

Human Rights Watch: Sophie Richardson: +1-917-721-7473

Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture: Séverine Durand: + 33 6 20 98 38 75

Human Rights Foundation: Javier El-Hage: javier@thehrf.org, +1 212.246.8486

Reporters Without Borders: Benjamin Ismaïl, +33 1 44 83 84 70

Global Justice Center:Stephanie Johanssen: sjohanssen@globaljusticecenter.net, +1 (212) 725.6530 Ext. 209

Friends of Liu Xiaobo (FoLXB), please visit: www.freelxb.com or contact campaign@freelxb.com, and press@freelxb.com for media inquiries

For more information about Amnesty International, please visit: http://www.amnesty.org/en/media-centre, press@amnesty.org, +44 207 413 5566

For more information on Change.org: Agnès Brulet, agnes@change.org, +33 6 13229624 please visit: http://www.change.org/about Change.org is the world’s largest petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see. There are more than 30 million users in 196 countries who use our tools to transform their communities – locally, nationally and globally.

Photos : © Pierre-Yves Brunaud pour Amnesty International

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