New York City, December 9, 2010—PEN American Center today congratulated imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo on the eve of the ceremony celebrating him as the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, calling his courage “inspirational” and vowing to continue the struggle for freedom of expression in China.

The following can be attributed to Kwame Anthony Appiah, president of PEN American Center:

The Nobel committee, in selecting Liu Xiaobo for the Peace Prize, has thrown the spotlight on his cause: the democratization of the country he loves and works for. The response of the Chinese government shows how far there is to go in that struggle. But his own quiet courage inspires all of us who care about freedom to work hard every day to help the Chinese achieve the fundamental freedoms that are the right of every human being.

Urged on by his example, we, along with our colleagues at the Independent Chinese PEN Center, plan to continue PEN’s mission, to mobilize more and more governments, organizations and individuals in support of freedom of expression in China, and around the world.

Appiah nominated Liu Xiaobo for the prize on January 29, 2010—an extension of PEN’s advocacy on behalf of Liu, a founding president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center in China, since his arrest. A month before, PEN American Center staged a New Year’s Eve event on the steps of the New York Public Library in which leading American writers read from Liu Xiaobo’s work and called for his release. On November 9, 2010, Appiah testified before the United States Congress on behalf of PEN on the importance of Liu Xiaobo’s work and the continuing harassment of members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

For more information on Liu Xiaobo, his writings, and PEN’s work on his behalf, please visit

PEN American Center is the largest of the 145 centers of International PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. The Freedom to Write Program of PEN American Center, which works to protect the freedom of the written word wherever it is imperiled, has been working to end China’s imprisonment, harassment, and surveillance of writers and journalists and curtail Internet censorship and other restrictions on the freedom to write in that country. For more information, please visit

Sarah Hoffman in New York, (212) 334-1660 ext. 111
Larry Siems in Oslo, (646) 359-0594