Den kinesiske poet og menneskerettighedsaktivist Liu Xiaobo døde af kræft den 13. juli. Få dage forinden blev han overført fra sin fængselscelle til et hospital, hvor hans kone, kunstneren og fotografen Liu Xia, fik lov at være ved hans side nogle timer om dagen.
Liu Xiaobo fik i 2009 en fængselsdom på 11 år, anklaget for at tilskynde til omstyrtelse af statsmagten. Året efter, i 2010, blev han in absentia tildelt Nobels Fredspris, men fik ikke lov til at rejse til Oslo og modtage prisen. Liu Xia blev ved den lejlighed sat i husarrest, angiveligt for blandt andet at forhindre at hun kunne rejse til Oslo for at modtage prisen på sin mands vegne. I løbet af de 8 år Liu Xiaobo tilbragte i fængslet sås parret kun når myndighederne en sjælden gang i mellem gav tilladelse til besøg.
Liu Xiaobo var medstifter af og i en periode formand for Chinese Independent PEN.
Se her hvordan forfatterkolleger over hele verden mindes ham: https://www.pen-international-message.org/.
PEN International har udsendt denne meddelelse i anledning af Liu Xiaobos død:
The PEN community are deeply saddened to hear of Liu Xiaobo’s death today.
Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, writer, literary critic and human rights activist spent the last eight years of his life in Jinzhou prison in northeast China, with little or no access to friends, family or colleagues. A former president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) and an active PEN member, Liu was arrested in December 2009 and charged with ‘inciting subversion of state power’, with a sentence of 11 years in prison.
His wife – the poet and photographer Liu Xia – was only allowed to visit him once a month under the supervision of prison guards. They would be forced to change the subject if they spoke about anything deemed offensive to the state. Liu Xia herself spent almost the entire duration of her husband’s detention under house arrest, held without charge.
Despite this harsh and unjust treatment, Liu Xiaobo’s continuing message to the outside world was one of peace, hope, and love. His poetry – written from within prison – spoke of his love for his wife and his hope for a China free from discrimination and human rights abuses. He used imagery rooted in nature and transformation, and his verse was rhythmic and lyrical.
At the December 2010 Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo, Liu Xiaobo’s medal and diploma were presented to an empty chair. It is a huge sadness to all of us who knew or were influenced by Liu Xiaobo – his resilient activism, his commitment to justice, his optimism and peaceful heart – that he will never have the opportunity to be recognised in person for all that he has done in the service of others. His empty chair was and remains a deep injustice, but just as he was remembered whilst locked behind bars, he will be remembered by us forever.
As well as sending our thoughts and love to Liu Xiaobo’s family, we are calling on the authorities to grant complete freedom of movement to his wife Liu Xia at this difficult time and going forward.
Below, please find statements from PEN President Jennifer Clement, Executive Director Carles Torner, UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and Salil Tripathi Chair of PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee.
China's callous treatment of political prisoners and dissidents reached lower depths today with the tragic passing of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. Liu, a writer, poet, and democracy campaigner, had committee no crime - he wanted the Chinese Government to respect the dignity of Chinese people and uphold their human rights. But his words threatened the authoritarian regime which attempted to silence him by jailing him. His words will resonate and will continue to inspire millions of people in China and beyond, and he will be remembered long after the unelected men temporarily in power are forgotten and, as Liu dreamed and fought for, China will become a democracy.’