Free Liu Xiaobo Now! An Open Letter

The following open letter to the Chinese government was drafted by Chinese Human Rights Defenders and delivered to the Chinese Embassy in Oslo at 3:30 pm on December 9, on the eve of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo. A group of protesters who had gathered in front of the embassy in support of Liu were dispersed by Norwegian police. Readers wishing to sign this letter can send their names to networkcrd@gmail.com. A Chinese version follows the English text.

The Chinese Government Should Respect Universal Values, Respect the Nobel Peace Prize, and Release Liu Xiaobo Immediately

Today, as we gather in Oslo for the award ceremony of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, we take note, with surprise and regret, of the Chinese government’s foolish responses to the granting of this distinguished prize to Dr. Liu Xiaobo. These responses—which have included restricting the freedom of movement of Liu Xiaobo’s family and prohibiting Chinese citizens from expressing their congratulations—are examples of serious government abuses of universal human rights.

During the two months since the announcement of the prize in early October, the Chinese government has not only held Liu Xiaobo in prison and confined his wife, Liu Xia, to house arrest; it also has sharply escalated its use of tactics like detention, house arrest, mandatory interrogations, and raids on homes to intimidate other Chinese citizens. Those who were known to have been invited by Liu Xia to attend the Nobel ceremony have been harassed, issued warnings, and shadowed by plainclothes police. The government has also cast a wide and indiscriminate net in its efforts to prevent from leaving China any person whom it suspected to be conceivably headed for Oslo. Internationally, it has openly pressured other nations not to send diplomatic representatives to the award ceremony.

The Chinese government’s response to the Peace Prize has been even worse than that of Nazi Germany in 1936 when the prize went to the German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky. By making it impossible for either the recipient or any appointed representative to travel to Oslo, China’s response is the most shameful of any government in the entire 109–year history of the prize.

This extraordinary array of disgraceful decisions has caused the Chinese government to suffer a major loss of face that is radically at odds with its vaunted image of a “rising power” in the economic and diplomatic spheres. By violating the minimal expectations of civilized deportment, it has infused its decades-long effort to build international “soft power” with an air of satire.

A Chinese writer—a scholar, poet, and advocate of non-violence—wins a huge international honor, and the Chinese government calls it a “monumental insult.” Yet this response fully accords with the superficial nationalism that the government has been fanning now for two decades. It also exposes a Chinese-style “disharmony” of a serious kind: behind the veneer of a vaulting economy there has been a precipitous retreat in civility and universal values.

We call upon the Chinese government to release Liu Xiaobo, who is in prison only for his words, immediately; to embrace the universal values that are championed by the Nobel Peace Prize; to view the Prize as a turning point for China; to encourage open discussion of Charter 08; and to begin political reform.

December 9, 2010 1:30 p.m.


敦促中国政府尊重“和平奖”普世价值,立即释放刘晓波

今天当我们聚首奥斯陆参加2010年“诺贝尔和平奖”颁奖典礼之际,我们惊诧而惋惜地注意到中国政府对刘晓波博士荣获此奖的反应和对策十分不明智,甚至严重违背人权普世价值,不惜剥夺刘晓波亲属和朋友的人身自由,压制中国公民表达庆贺的权利。

自从诺奖宣布两个月来,中国政府不仅继续监禁刘晓波,软禁刘霞女士,也在国内对民间人士大肆拘留、传唤、抄家、软禁,对颁奖典礼受邀者进行骚扰、警告、跟踪,还无节制地阻拦各种人士及其亲属出国,甚至到了“宁堵一千,不漏一人”的疯狂程度;在国际间,中国政府也公然威胁各国使节不要出席本次典礼。

2010年中国政府对付诺贝尔和平奖与刘晓波的举止,比1936年纳粹德国对待和平主义者卡尔·冯·奥斯茨基还要卑劣。在诺贝尔和平奖109年的历史上,第一次发生获奖者本人和其他任何代表皆无法出席。中国政府创造了这个可耻纪录。

这一连串超乎寻常的非理智行为,使中国政府在国际社会面前大丢其脸,与其深为期许的经济和外交“崛起大国”的姿态极不相称,使其十数年营造的“软性外交”工程几成讽刺,也违背最起码的文明准则。

中国政府把一个主张非暴力的民间作家、一介书生获得的巨大国际荣誉视为“奇耻大辱”,是跟他们近二十年来刻意煽动的“民族主义”思潮一脉相承的。这也证明了一个严重的中国式的“不和谐”:经济快速增长的背后,是普世价值和文明的严重倒退。

我们在此要求中国政府立即释放因言获罪的刘晓波,接纳“和平奖”倡导的普世价值,视之为一个转机,开放讨论《零八宪章》,启动政治改革。

2010年12月9日 奥斯陆 挪威

Signed:

苏晓康

Renee Xia

胡平

陈奎德

李洁

Emily Lau

张钰

卢柏松

蔡咏梅

吕金花

王进钟

牧野圣修

北井大铺

Salil Tripathi

Prof. Dr. Manfred G. Lieb

R. B. Bernstein

Hans Sandberg

Stephanie Kahrs

Bella Wu

Joseph Neumann

Julian Dean

Eva Pils

Genpo Döring

Jean-Paul Dugas

Nils Victor Montan

Rafael Naranjo

Blake Irvin

Christina Phelps

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