Statement by the Liu Xiaobo Support Committee and Amnesty International France 18 April 2012 "Art against censorship in China” special event. Call for Liu Xiaobo’s release
On the occasion of the April 17th evening’s “Art against censorship in China” special event at the Jeu de Paume national gallery in Paris, the human rights groups that form the Liu Xiaobo Support Committee, together with Amnesty International and well-known figures call on the Chinese authorities to free the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, who has been jailed since December 2008 and who is serving an 11-year sentence. They also reaffirm their support for his wife, Liu Xia, who is currently under house arrest.
Censorship by China’s successive regimes has often been circumvented by the country’s artists, using ridicule, innuendo and imagination. Ai Weiwei uses all forms of expression, not only video, photography and blogging, but also sculpture and architecture, to oppose the Chinese government’s censorship and articulate his irrepressible desire for freedom.
The work of Chinese writers Liu Xiaobo, Liu Hongbin, Bei Dao, Ai Qing (Ai Weiwei’s father) and Liu Xia (Liu Xiaobo’s wife) and contemporary artists Wang Keping, Gao Yuan and Ma Desheng, who are attending the event, are the expression of this resistance to oppression and censorship at a time when the Chinese is intensifying its crackdown on dissidents. Their voices echo Ai Weiwei’s provocative and iconoclastic work.
Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison on a charge of “inciting subversion of state authority” for participating in many initiatives aimed at obtaining political reform in China, including Charter 08, which calls for true democracy and respect for human rights in China. As with many other dissidents, Liu’s only real crime was to dare to raise his voice and participate with other Chinese intellectuals in a debate about his country’s future.
Held in Jinzhou prison in the northeastern province of Liaoning, Liu is deprived of any contact with the outside world. His wife, Liu Xia, is under a form of house arrest in Beijing, where she is subject to permanent police surveillance, cut off from the outside world and prevented from publishing her works.
The human rights groups and well-known figures reiterate their appeal to the government to free Liu Xiaobo. The decision to free the Nobel peace laureate is in President Hu Jintao’s hands. By opening China to more freedom, he would send a signal of hope and would confirm Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s statement on 3 October 2010 that freedom of expression is “essential in all countries.”
A politically committed intellectual and poet, Liu Xiaobo has become a symbol of the Chinese government’s repression of intellectuals, artists, human rights lawyers and activists, dissidents, journalists, bloggers and ordinary members of the public, whose basic freedoms of opinion, expression and information are constantly flouted by the authorities.
Liu Xiaobo Support Committee
The Liu Xiaobo Support Committee consists of Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), Act for Human Rights (ADH), Tibetan People Support Committee (CSPT), Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Freedom Now, Human Rights Foundation (HRF), International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), Human Rights League (LDH), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and China Solidarity, as well as the Nobel peace laureates Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Ms. Jody Williams, Arch. Desmond Tutu, Ms. Mairead Maguire, Ms. Betty Williams and had † Mr. Vaclav Havel’s active support.
The event was organized jointly with Amnesty International France.
Please find the photos in the slide show below