The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity
Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese literary critic, writer, professor, human rights activist, and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner.  He is currently incarcerated as a political prisoner in the People's Republic of China.

In 1976, Liu studied at Jilin University and obtained a B.A. degree in literature in 1982 and an M.A. degree in 1984 from Beijing Normal University.  After graduation, Liu joined the faculty at Beijing Normal University, where he also received a Ph.D. degree in 1988.  Between 1988 and 1989, he was a visiting scholar at several universities outside of China, including Columbia University, the University of Oslo and the University of Hawaii.

During the 1989 pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square, Liu staged a hunger strike, then negotiated a peaceful retreat of student demonstrators.  After the Tiananmen Square protest, Liu was detained in a maximum security prison and convicted on charges of "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement".   In October 1996, he was ordered to serve three years of re-education through labor on charges of "disturbing public order" for criticizing the Communist Party of China. 

Liu’s most recent arrest occurred on December 8, 2008 — a day before, Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto he helped author began circulating on the Internet. Charter 08 affirmed the importance of freedom, human rights, equality as “universal values shared by all humankind” and endorsed direct elections, judicial independence and an end to Communist Party dominance.  The manifesto was on the Internet only briefly before it was pulled by censors, but it still garnered 10,000 signatures.

On December 25, 2009, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years imprisonment and two years deprivation of political rights by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court on charges of "inciting subversion of state power". Diplomats from more than a dozen states, including the U.S., Britain, Canada, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, were denied access to the court to observe the trial.  In December 2009, the United States and European Union both issued formal appeals calling for the unconditional release of Liu Xiaobo.

On October 8, 2010 Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".  European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, U.S. President Barack Obama, and the Dalai Lama were among those who praised the decision, and called for Liu's release.  Following the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize, Liu's wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest but has not been charged with any offense.


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